The Global Epidemic of H.I.V./AIDS and Malaria
Due to the lack of treatment and money in areas throughout the world over one million people, mostly children, die from H.
I.V./AIDS and from malaria (AIDS.gov). Although most of these incidents occur in more poor countries such as Africa, these are diseases that have killed parents leaving children as orphans and will continue to kill millions if they go unrecognized and untreated. Public knowledge is a key to helping fight these catastrophic deaths.
AIDS is one of the top ten killers worldwide claiming more than 1.7 million lives yearly. “Let us give publicity to H.I.V.
/AIDS, … and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary” (The Body). With public knowledge of the epidemic people can know exactly how to identify symptoms of H.I.V. These symptoms include fever, swollen glands, rash, sore throat, fatigue, muscle and joint pains, and a headache which often differ from AIDS symptoms (AIDS.gov).
However, symptoms of H.I.V. can progress to AIDS symptoms which are greater, but not limited to; rapid weight loss, diarrhea lasting longer than a week, pneumonia, memory loss, depression, and other neurological disorders (Aids.gov). Public knowledge may be useful when telling the partner in which a relationship is held as well as their family that the virus has been contracted.
Although, it seems easy to be able to understand the virus, actually learning symptoms and how to identify them becomes a difficulty. “The global AIDS epidemic is the single biggest catastrophe in human history. Over 20 million have died; another 100 million are expected to die over the next 20 years, 50 million children orphaned” (Power of Love). People need to work together globally to help prevent such human catastrophe. AIDS is on the rise in many places worldwide, the most known places that have the highest number of AIDS casualties are Haiti, Comoros, and Africa.
Statistics show that the majority of AIDS related deaths come from the continent of Africa. The next ranked places are Comoros and Haiti, with the same number of casualties. Americans should care about this global epidemic if they travel abroad. During my interview with Ann Jones, a nurse and a missionary volunteer, she states that, “Many African countries are doing far better than the U.S. regarding decreasing infection rates.
” An increasing rate of African children or teens contract AIDS. Most high school health or sex education classes do not teach teens the facts about the virus therefore, when contracted; this leads teens to face the fear of public shame from peers around them. “Children who have lost parents to H.I.V.
/AIDS are not only just as deserving of an education as any other children, but they may need that education even more. Being part of a school environment will prepare them for the future, while helping to remove the stigma and discrimination unfortunately associated with AIDS” (Belafonte). People with this virus seem to have kept the diagnosis hidden simply because it is embarrassing or looked upon shamefully. Public knowledge can help people learn more about the whole epidemic therefore, people become aware of how to take care of their self if the virus is contracted then it no longer becomes shame, but the sharing of public knowledge and prevention. When people are ashamed of the virus they will remain silent and will not mention it.
This has become an issue with many cases in the United States, leaving as many as many Americans affected. ” More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 6 are unaware of their infection” (AIDS.gov). Another virus that is just as catastrophically killing millions is the epidemic of malaria, the top child killer in Africa.
There are many ways to help ease the death rate of malaria. For five dollars, a mosquito net can cover up to four small children or two adults protecting them throughout the night. Contracting malaria becomes extremely easy at night due to the fact that the body remains inactive because of slumber. With a humid climate like Africa, mosquitoes venture out into the night and take anyone as their prey. Malaria is contracted through mosquito bites which pass along tiny parasites that become life threatening to many, especially children, who do not stand a chance against this disease. Statistics show “In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627 000 deaths, mostly among African children” (World Health Organization).
This death rate continues to rise and will not subside until proper help is given. “A child dies every minute from malaria. Malaria claims 483,000 lives per year—90 percent of those in Africa. That’s 1,300 kids that lose their lives to a mosquito bite every day” (Challenge). However, research is conflicting regarding time a child is dying from malaria.
Currently rates are at an all-time high. “Studies in Ghana, Kenya, and other African nations show that about thirty percent of child deaths could be avoided if children slept under bed nets regularly treated with insecticides” (Perlin, Cohen). This is a number that is continuously rising, showing we need to take greater steps towards prevention. Prevention and global help can easily be achieved if the world were to donate or help hands on, such as volunteering time or services to spread the message, when combating the disease. No matter how little or how big, any amount of money helps and any person with time can save a life. People do not have to be a celebrity, a millionaire, or even a doctor in order to make a difference in a child’s life.
“The global HIV/AIDS epidemic is an unprecedented crisis that requires an unprecedented response. In particular it requires solidarity between the healthy and the sick, between rich and poor, and above all, between richer and poorer nations. We have 30 million orphans already. How many more do we have to get, to wake up” (Annan)? AIDS and malaria go hand in hand as they are the top killers of children and they are the main deaths in Africa. With the help of eliminating or decreasing one killer, such as malaria, from use of mosquito nets or medicine, the death toll will significantly reduce especially in children.
“Both diseases are showing an improvement in Zambia, Africa” (Jones). Global help and knowledge are a must in order to clearly understand what is going on and how to overcome the two epidemics. Global helps becomes a big deal when deciding to commit to saving another life or lives. If the world came together as one to help put an end to things then situations in other countries, especially Africa would not be as dire. Global help goes along with communication.
“The ability to fight the injustices of poverty through sustainable solutions is what we should all be about” (Jones). With no communication things become a game changer because people are not aware of what is going on. Communication helps with global help in a way that pairs them hand in hand. When interviewing Antoinette Gray, a local bilingual CNA, it is easy to see that communication is necessary. If communication is done correctly then it helps aid global help by working as a translator to those who may speak another language. “I speak two languages, and because of that it allows me to communicate on a more complex level.
You cannot expect to help someone who is struggling if you are unable to communicate. Communication is definitely important to help those around us understand things that are important.” The ability to speak another language then turns into being knowledgeable. If people are knowledgeable and clearly understand the epidemics, how they are contracted, how they kill, how they are prevented, and then everyone can begin to search for a cure or a way to help make a difference. Not only is saving a life huge, but committing and putting in the dedication as well as the work it takes to save a life is time consuming and can be overwhelming. One huge debatable topic, according to the Social Issues Research Service, when it comes to the spending of treatment money is simply “should testing and prevention be emphasized over treatment in combating the AIDS pandemic in Africa” (ProQuest)? Though treatment is highly favored, there are many who believe testing and prevention is more important.
Many forms of treatment have become known, yet here recently there is a new type of pills to slow down the effects of HIV. Although, most pills have been found to be scams or not work there is one pill that will do the trick; Truvada. The pill is completely safe and has even been marketed and approved as the first anti-HIV pill by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said the agency would immediately begin working with other public health groups to establish guidelines for using the drugs prophylactically in this country.
With this being done there is more money allowed to be spent for productive measures instead of advertising and lecturing abstinence. When it comes down to it, people make their own choices and nothing can be done about it. Therefore, it is wise to go ahead and take time and money to help slow down and attempt to cure the epidemic. Furthermore, the world must stand as a nation to come together and put an end to the human suffering of those with HIV/AIDS and malaria in order to make the world a better place. Although, this is a difficult task and a big responsibility to take on, the responsibility should be shared and should be achievable with goals along the way.
“To be able to continuously go around knowing something so inhumane is happening to those around us, is sad. There are so many things that could be done to protect others, even in different countries” (Gray). Many human rights activists believe that there is so much more to life when people are able to help others and rise to the ultimate level of humanity; helping those while stepping away from one’s personal life. Martin Luther King Jr., a great human rights activist, was a strong believer that in order to make the word a better place, a lending hand must be given, saying “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity” (Martin).
The world must rise above and overcome such challenges to help save as many lives possible. Life only last for so long and to be able to save a life and give someone a chance of survival before it is cut short is incredible.