HIV/AIDS – Causes and Effects

  • Updated March 27, 2023
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HIV/AIDS is a pandemic that occurs on every continent of the world across both the Northern and Southern hemisphere making it a global pattern. HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/ Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is prevalent and is spread unevenly across the globe. This means some countries have a higher concentration of the disease than others, for example, it is highly concentrated in Sub Sahara Africa with 69% of people living with HIV/AIDS. Kuntata is a 15-year-old girl living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi, Sub Sahara Africa. Kuntata’s parents also had HIV/AIDS and passed. This is a common occurrence with 70% of deaths in Sub Sahara Africa related to HIV/AIDS. Malawi alongside Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho have the highest statistics of HIV/AIDS in Sub Sahara Africa despite the 72% decline of illness since the first documentation of HIV/AIDS in African regions in 1969.

Since the start of the epidemic around 77.3 million people have been infected. Today 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS does not only occur in the southern hemisphere. 15-year-old Georgiana in Romania is living with HIV/AIDS as well as 53% of her people. Romania had come out of a communistic rule when the spread of HIV/AIDS hit in 1989 and around the same time of the years 1986-1990 there were 6000 children affected due to unsterile needles and blood transfusions.

Like Georgiana and Kuntata, 17-year-old Sarath from Cambodia has a mother suffering from HIV/AIDS alongside 67,000 other adults and children in their country suffering from the deficiency in 2017. The global pandemic of HIV/AIDS has fluctuated across the globe throughout the years with vast increases and decreases for each country. In 1990 when HIV/AIDS was still a new diagnosis, under 10 million people were living with HIV/AIDS and in 2017 it increased to 36.9 million people. In 1970 3.47 million new HIV/AIDS infections had arisen but have since decreased to 1.8 million in 2017. Similarly, deaths related to HIV/AIDS has decreased 51% from 35.4 million to 940,000 in 2017.

There are multiple factors and processors that contribute to the uneven global pattern of HIV/AIDS such as access to health care and unsafe sexual activity. Sub-Sahara Africa in the Southern Hemisphere has the highest concentration of people living with HIV/AIDS, this is largely due to the lack of and access to health care. The vast majority of people infected by HIV/AIDS live in less developed countries like Swaziland (27.2%) Lesotho (25%) and Botswana (21.9%) who uphold some of the highest percentage of HIV/AIDS prevalence.

In 2010 Swaziland suffered 3000 job losses, creating an issue of the absence of doctors. Another factor that contributes to uneasy access to health care is the lack of education and low literacy rates reducing educated doctors. In less developed countries (LDCs) there literacy rate is only 60% (2009). Not only are there lack of doctors the per capita health expenditure in Swaziland is only $247.90 USD in 2014 resulting in 5 health centers and 1 regional hospital in Swaziland. Like Swaziland, East Asia and the Pacific’s per capita health expenditure was estimated at $5302 USD. The lack of medical care and institutions mean that people may not have access to get tests to diagnose if they are HIV positive or negative.

Unawareness of status may lead to more new infections due to transmission from one person to another. A common event in Eswatini culture is polygamous marriages as well as 58 other countries which involves marrying multiple partners and could potentially increase numbers of transmission. In LDCs the most common way to transmit HIV/AIDS is through heterosexual sexual activity. Studies show that poorer countries tend to encourage sex at a younger age such as Cambodia where parents offer their child’s virginity to the sex trade in return for money or goods.

Individuals are uneducated in safe sex practices, due to cultural beliefs according to en.Wikipedia.org. In South East Asia where Cambodia is located HIV/AIDS prevalence is highest among sex workers, as they are 13 times more at risk to the infection than the general population. Bmjopen.bmj.com states that women aged 15-29 engaged in transactional sexual activity with 2 or more partners in that last month.

There is 670,000 Cambodian adults and children living with HIV/AIDS out of 5.2 million in East Asia and the Pacific. “Sex workers have told us that when they ask a client to use a condom, he offers double the price to have sex without the condom. These women are trying to provide for their children and families, so they take the offer” – Ndeye Astou Diop, Aboya www.avert.org. Due to the increasing numbers of sex workers, brothels, sex trafficking and the spread of HIV/AIDS through heterosexual activity the government has tried to encourage the use of condoms as only 13.9% of sex workers effectively used protection.

HIV/AIDS affects people in many different ways which can make it a significant factor in their daily lives. Countries like Malawi in Sub Sahara Africa are heavily impacted, with 1 million individuals living with HIV/AIDS, this puts them at one of the highest HIV prevalence in the world with 9.2% of adults aged 15 – 49 living with the sickness. Kuntata is part of that high percentage. She is a 15-year-old girl living in Malawi with HIV/AIDS. Both her parents had HIV/AIDS, and both passed because there were no medicines like Anti-Retroviral Therapy to help prolong the effects in that time, leaving Kuntata’s grandmother with the burden of care.

Over 500,000 people in Malawi who had HIV AIDS have died just like Kuntata’s parents. From a social perspective, this puts a strain on an elder having to look after a chronically sick child as well as themselves in a less developed country. Kuntata’s Grandmother said in a World Vision video that “she has few avenues for income” making it hard to buy necessary items like food and clothes for the cold seasons. She has had to pick up all of the workloads because Kuntata is “orphaned in bed suffering” and has constant belts of malaria, headaches and diarrhea.

Kuntata is an orphan just like the other 14,800,000 orphans in Sub Sahara Africa due to HIV/AIDS. Kuntata is a young child with a developing brain and misses out of sufficient education and cannot complete her studies leaving her hopeless because of HIV/AIDS. Although she does her best to stay positive and help, however, she can when she is feeling okay. She makes simple doughnuts to sell to her classes and communities, the profit from this small business helps towards food and clothes. The impact on her life has been great as she has been constantly affected by death, sickness and a prominent strain on her family.

Like Kuntata, Georgiana a 15-year-old girl living in Romania affected by HIV/AIDS on a daily basis. Although Romania is not as heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS as countries in Sub Sahara Africa, it holds 2.5% of the world’s population affected by the disease. 53% of Romanian citizens including Georgiana are living with HIV/AIDS out of the population of 19.6 million after coming out of a communistic rule at the end of 1989. In the years 1986 to 1990 over 6000 children were affected by unsterile and unsafe medical equipment for things like blood transfusions, and that’s how Georgiana contracted HIV/AIDS.

She says in a World Vision video that “life isn’t the same” as it is a life of pills and treatment. Her health is currently stable due to Anti-Retroviral Therapy like 76% of people with HIV/AIDS in Romania but her social life has been heavily impacted. From a social perspective, Georgiana is scared and fearful of the stigma around HIV/AIDS as she hasn’t told her friends about her sickness. What also makes her nervous is that in earlier years people in Romania who were living with HIV/AIDS were banned. Georgiana shares that her dreams of falling in love and having children have been swept away due to the risks.

Giving birth to a child when you’re HIV positive has a chance of transmission; this is because of blood and fluids mixing while delivering through the birthing canal. “The hardest thing is that I’ll never be able to have a normal family and have a family without problems,” Georgiana says. However, she has found a positive way to confront her worries and fear for the future through her poems. Georgiana’s life with HIV/AIDS isn’t all bad as there are support groups like KIDS CLUB a camp set up by world vision. This club allows kids with the same condition as Georgiana to offer friendships and understanding with no judgement or discrimination.

Georgiana expresses that KIDS CLUB has helped her multiples ways, it has helped her to feel free and help her come out of a depressing circle of thoughts. Nowadays HIV/AIDS candidates are a top priority to care due to new policies in Romania, and there have been new breaks to the stigma around HIV/AIDS. Georgiana says she has a “supportive family so she is only worried about the future and not the present because she is supported and loved.”

Cambodia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is spread primarily through unprotected sexual intercourse due to the large industry of the sex trade of 34,000 prostitutes in the country. With a population of 15,760,000, there are an estimated 67,000 adults aged 15 – 49 living with HIV/AIDS. Within that group, there is Sarath a 17-year-old boy who lives around constant discrimination in his family due to his mother contracting the disease. From a social perspective, Sarath was affected second hand not directly by HIV/AIDS but the impacts are still great. Sarath describes what happened to him by telling world vision that children in his village would make unkind remarks like “you are the son of HIV/AIDS! Go away, don’t come and play with us!”

These words from other children hurt Sarath and made him feel angry and upset he was being discriminated. Instead, he ignores the discrimination and followed his mother’s advice to focus on his studies, he is studying to become a teacher. Sarath is one of the few teenagers in Sub Sahara Africa who have sufficient education to have a future. 26% of Sub Sahara Africa are uneducated, meaning the knowledge of illnesses like HIV/AIDS is sparse. Only 40% of young people in Cambodia aged 15-24 know the basics of HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. Fewer women are knowledgeable of HIV/AIDS than compared to men, leading to stigma and discrimination. As Sarath says “I study hard to become a very good teacher.

I want to educate lots of young children to value one another and live with dignity, and do not discriminate. I want to see my mother’s smile and I hope that I will not let her down.” This mindset allows Sarath to make a positive social impact in his community and in the future potentially countries around the world. His mother being sick has also put pressure on Sarath to take responsibility for his mother’s health by reminding her to take the Anti-Retroviral Drug every day at 7 am and 7 pm. Before Sarath’s mother became sick she used to own a profitable food stall selling pork rice soup in her village but stopped buying from her when they found out she had HIV/AIDS.

This prime example of discrimination distressed Sarath’s mother so much that she considered taking her own life. Discrimination and stigma effects people in huge ways. From an economic perspective, Sarath’s mother’s food stall lost considerable profit and was forced to close, leaving her with few avenues for money. With less money, it became hard to buy medicines like Anti-Retroviral Therapy. Until World vision came and changed the community, educating them on the issue of HIV/AIDS. “Everyone seems to understand about HIV/AIDS, and there is no more discrimination to those who are HIV positive. Those people who used to discriminate against us have turned out to be nice and friendly to us now” says Sarath.

Cite this paper

HIV/AIDS – Causes and Effects. (2021, Feb 24). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/hiv-aids-causes-and-effects/



What are the effect of HIV AIDS?
The effects of HIV AIDS can range from mild to severe, and can include weakened immune system, increased risk of infections and illnesses, and potentially life-threatening complications. It can also lead to stigma, discrimination, and social isolation for those living with the virus.
What is the basic cause of AIDS?
There is no one basic cause of AIDS. It is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
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