Human Immunodeficiency Virus Essay
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) have been around for a few decades with more and more people getting the disease, especially in and around the area of Africa with 25 million people infected. HIV is spread through the transfusion of contaminated blood, by used of contaminated needles, unprotected sex, children born with it from an infected mother by womb or breast feeding or in general, the mixing of a body fluid with someone who has HIV.
There are approximately 35,500,000 people in the world affected with AIDS or HIV, the worst place being Africa with over 25 million people followed by Asia with 6.5 million. Roughly 22 million people have died to date due to AIDS and this number will be increasing quite rapidly especially in Africa due to the lack of teaching about protected sex. Most men have more than 1 partner in Africa especially due to their occupations in the mines of which you will hear more of in an
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Interview with a 14 year old boy
called Daniel in Uganda.
Above: A graph showing the increase in population with HIV and AIDS.
Times reporter, Jonathan Williams visited Uganda and spoke to a boy whose parents are infected with AIDS, Daniel. Like most men in Uganda, Daniel’s dad went away to mine in South Africa and while away, had unprotected sex with another woman. When Daniel’s dad got back, he passed the HIV he got from the lady at the mine onto his wife. When a female gets HIV and then has a baby, the baby might then get AIDS. Daniel, however, is not infected with AIDS or HIV. Some men chose
not to wear condoms because they are “unmanly” and some reuse needles without being cleaned and so they are contaminated with blood.
Interview with Daniel
Times: First of all, thanks for speaking to us about such a taboo subject in your village. We understand it might be quite hard for you.
Daniel: That’s okay.
Times: How has HIV affected you?
Daniel: Life is very difficult! My
mum is often very ill meaning I can’t complete my homework at home. Sometimes I have to stay at home and not go to school because my mum is too ill. All I can think about is whether my younger sisters and I will go to an orphanage or whether I will be split up from the rest of my family. Not only does HIV affect my school life but I often can’t go out and play with friends because I have to stay at home and care for my mum. I get hardly any free time! I also now work because my mum is too ill to. I sometimes go to fish and bring some back to eat and then go to the roadside to sell the rest of which I have left. I also have to walk for our water. It is common for the lady of the house to however with my mum in the condition she is, she can’t walk for many metres never mind miles.
Times: How has HIV affected your family?
Daniel: Sometimes my dad, my sisters and I don’t get much or any sleep because my mum is keeping us awake. My dad now keeps everything to himself. A few months ago I heard him talking to his brother mentioning that he had AIDS; however he did not tell me. This makes me quite upset because our family does not talk much anymore. With my mum too ill to work, we get less food and so we will have a lower life expectancy. Also, when my sister caught a different disease, the hospitals couldn’t help her for a long time because they were too busy dealing with people with AIDS and HIV. A doctor told me that lots of the patients received HIV because the men didn’t wear contraception. Do you know what contraception is? My teacher told me it was such things as condoms. It is culture not to wear condoms here however more men are starting to nowadays. There are
few places to get this contraception also so it means more babies are going to be born making the population go up.
Times: How has it affected your village?
Daniel: The village’s money, I think it’s called economy, has gone down over the past few years. Less people are able to work and so we make less money meaning we can’t open more hospitals and health centres. There are many charities that help us with money and health support. One of them I saw here the other day was the “National AIDS Trust Association”.
My village also have an awkward relationship because no one talks about AIDS or HIV to friends. They get embarrassed. I can only speak to a friend who lives next to me. He knows a bit more about AIDS then me because his parents have had it for about a year longer.
Times: Is your village doing anything to help prevent AIDS?
Daniel: Yes. Every week at school we have a whole 2 lessons on AIDS and HIV. They teach us things like how and why we should use contraception, what we can do and where we can go for a testing to see if we have HIV or AIDS and we even get chats from people with the disease. They also teach us how to help our parents and family maintain a normal life. We practise the different jobs we can do to earn money and learn how to help our parents, siblings or friends if they are in need.
Times: Thank you so much for your time Daniel and I wish you good luck. We brought you a little present from Times. We hope you enjoy it.
Daniel: You’re very welcome. Thanks for seeing me!
Many boys and girls are in the same situation as Daniel. There are, as Daniel explained, some solutions being put into place however there are some more a scientist had recently said. Already, tribal leaders of men in Africa explain to their men that they need to be faithful to their spouse. They need to wear contraception and not have any relationship with any other woman who may have AIDS. The scientist also said that the village could open up more hospitals with help of funds donated by charities. These hospitals could give contraception, free tests and pillows to slow down their death. Currently in Daniel’s village, some women are given small loans to set up their own business so that they do not have to sell their bodies to sex tourists.