By Naaima Ansari

Millions and Millions of people and children are dying every few hours, in one of the largest continent, Africa, today because of a wide spread disease: AIDS. A horrible disease that wasn’t even known 25 years ago, but now, today, it is one of the “killer diseases” in Sub-Sahara Africa. Out of the estimated 39.4 Million people that are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide, more than two thirds of them are living in Africa. According to UN AIDS, in 2003, 2.3 million people died of AIDS. 29.4 million People are currently living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no doubt that AIDS is spreading very rapidly. Now the question to think about is, “Who is mostly being affected by AIDS?” Because of AIDS, many things are being affected. Some of the major impacts that Aids has had are on children, education sector, teachers, workplaces/household sector and health.
Nearly two-thirds of the world's HIV-positive people live in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains little more than 10% of the world's population. There is a significant risk that some countries in Africa will be locked in a vicious cycle of AIDS.
It is hard to emphasize the trauma and hardships that children affected by HIV/AIDS are forced to face worldwide. Not only does HIV/AIDS mean children lose their parents/guardians, but it can also means that they might lose their childhood as well. As these children lose their parents, the eldest kids in the family have to take charge. They strive to do more than they can for the survival of their remaining family members. Children take on more responsibility to produce enough food, to earn an income, and take care of their family. It is harder for these children to access sufficient nutrition, basic health care, housing, and clothing. Fewer families have the money to send their children to school. If there is a shortage of money, the girl child ends up staying behind and the boy goes to school. This is certainly not fair because in the future there will be more educated boys than girls. Girls and boys should be equally treated.
Since many of the children’s parents have been affected by AIDS, the oldest sibling takes the responsibility of taking care of his/her family. They become so involved in striving to find enough food and enough money that not enough money remains for them to be able to go to school. A lot of them have to drop out of school to take care of their ill parents or family members. Many children in Africa are so poor that they don’t have enough money to manage a good living or be able to earn a good education. They end up not going to school and instead, struggle for survival. Due to a decline in birthrate, the education level isn’t very high in Africa and so there are fewer and fewer children. Astonishingly, more children are getting infected by AIDS and are either not living long enough to start school or not surviving the years of schooling. Young girls are being affected the most.
HIV/AIDS does not only affect kids and parents, but also affects teachers. Almost 19% of male teachers were affected by AIDS and 29% of females in Zimbabwe. It is estimated that 17% of Mozambique's teachers are HIV-positive. This is considerably higher than the national average of 13% HIV occurrence among people aged 15 and 49. It is believed that this will lead to the death of 1.6% of the country's teachers per year.
When teachers get affected by AIDS, they obviously have to take time off either to take care of themselves, or to take care of their families/dying relatives or attend funerals. When teachers take time off, the class might be taken by another teacher, or the classes might be combined or in some cases, the classes will be left untaught. This impacts these students’ ability to learn and educate themselves. In rural areas the death of teachers is extremely devastating. Schools usually depend very heavily on one or two teachers. Skilled teachers are extremely hard to be replaced. It has been estimated that they will have to train 13,000 teachers over the next 17 years to be able to get schools a bit under control.
The majority of the people that have been affected by HIV are between the ages 15 and 49. This dramatically affects labour and reduces economic activity and social progress. Health-care services face different levels of strain, depending on the number of people who seek services. As this AIDS infection progresses, there will be more people being hospitalized. Swaziland Human Development Report estimated that people living with HIV/AIDS occupied half of the beds in some health care centres in Swaziland.
To help stop AIDS in Africa, we should all work together by collecting funds and striving to collect as much money as possible. We should send educated teachers from here that are willing to help hopeless children/people and help to strive to make a difference. We should send as much medication as possible, no matter how much money it takes because if we don’t work hard then there is no other way to prevent this disease from spreading. We have to save our generation. If everyone strives and works together, we all can make a difference.


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