Ambassador Virginia Palmer stressed the notion that there’s an ounce of causal relationship between teen marriage and HIV which is quite astounding, yet daunting as it’s been detailed out in the podcast.
Clearly, the evidence that suggest there’s a significant corroboration between both is vastly limited. Although, the podcast does note that similar factors that places adolescents in Malawi at significant risk of contracting HIV also places these young Malawian girls at an incredibly risk of early marriage. After marriage, these young ladies are exposed to terrible health outcomes due sexual encounters with older men, and in certain situations, heightened risk of HIV.
It is also important to ponder if there would be any major cause for alarm if there aren’t such increased risk of contracting HIV from early marriages the Malawians seem to practice as the practice itself has been a norm in this region. The act of teen marriage has been prominent for generations in Africa and most third world countries, mainly as a result of cultural norms, gender inequality and poor education. Nonetheless, it has been reckoned that there’s a direct link between teen marriage and HIV, these findings are beyond startling.
According to the World Population Review, “Sub-Sahara Africa currently possess a 2.66% growth rate” (WPR, Retrieved 2019-02-28). That means the population ought to be doubled before 2050. With an increasing population, and current incidence as well as prevalence rate of HIV among young girls in the region, there’s indeed a real cause for alarm.
Thankfully an American led project The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) was launched in 2003, during the president Bush regime as an intervention strategy to curb increasing epidemic such as HIV in regions of the world that possess no resources to tackle such epidemic. And to date, this program made astounding progress as detailed “PEPFAR has driven remarkable progress in curbing the global AIDS epidemic, raising the possibility of epidemic control 2 in 10 African countries by 2020” (Fleishcham, Peck 2017).
Often asked in the HLSC 460 classroom why potential health workers should care about incidents such as what’s going on outside the country, especially far away in regions that aren’t geographically close to the shores of America. Ambassador Virginia Palmer noted some importance of the U.S intervening in these regions. For example, Malawi is an ally and in return they’re important peacekeepers in the region of Sub-Sahara Africa so the U.S can’t turn a blind eye while the country battles such epidemic with lack or insufficient resources. It is also important to note that, for future healthcare workers, understanding every aspect of these situations and its effect on the population would come in handy when applying evidence-based practice in future use as well as understanding the population altogether.
While its been noted that interventions such as education on safe sex practice with the use of condoms and abstinence etc. have been proven to help curb this epidemic and address other implications of HIV on the population.
Yet, there’s been an alarming desire for deontologist in the region to push back against proven interventions that helps battle the HIV epidemic. Recent acquired knowledge from HLSC policy and health class persuaded the desire to ponder about the ethical aspects of everything going on in Malawi and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Per research conducted, an increasing population of the locals are being led by educated deontologist in the region to view interventions by PEPFAR as a campaign for sexual immorality which stands against the norms the locals are used to and had been passed down from generations which in a way still hinders the effect of interventions by foreign aid thus far. “HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns have been overshadowed by conflicting, competing, and contradictory views between those who support condom use as a last resort and those who are against it for fear of promoting sexual immorality” (Mfutso-bengo, Masiye 2009). Nonetheless, the interventions have been highly commendable, but more will be done.