Essay Example: The Link between HIV and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa

Published: 2022-03-01
Essay Example: The Link between HIV and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  HIV
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1912 words
16 min read


HIV/AIDS epidemic is continually cutting through the heart of Africa. It is not a surprise to learn that HIV (Azetsop J. 2016) infects approximately a quarter of African adult populace in the majority of African nations. There has been the limited success in controlling this epidemic despite its rapid spread. Furthermore, as little it might be, the progress in prevention has an impact on the range of HIV (Deeks et al. 2015). Currently, the focus of control has been on maximizing awareness campaigns on the risks of transmissions to minimize spread at individual levels (Azetsop J. 2016). It is unfortunate that less attention is given to the economic and social context of an individual that is the primary cause of sporadic spread.

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Poverty is indeed the highest causative agent of HIV in Africa even though the epidemic managers do not put this into consideration. HIV is deeply rooted in disadvantaged family backgrounds due to social and economic reasons. Therefore, this calls for a quick action to elevate developmental issues that will in return reduce the spread of HIV especially in poverty-stricken areas (Hargreaves et al. 2015). This will significantly reduce the spread of this epidemic and will indeed act as an efficient response to the epidemic.

Poverty is the primary factor in the list of behaviors that predispose people to infection by HIV. Unavailability of control of existing circumstances where intercourse occurs especially for poor women raises the intercourse frequency which puts women between 18 and 49 years of age at high risk of getting the infection (Hargreaves et al. 2015). Moreover, in most sub-Saharan African countries, there is limited access to health services that also heightens the spread of the disease due to lack of primary health care.

Early marriages, Poverty, and HIV

Reports indicate that majority of parents marries off their daughters due to poverty factor as they are considered economical burdens. Most of them are aged between 17-20 years of age (Delprato et al. 2015). In an African setting, parents tend to think that educating, feeding and clothing girls are expensive and thus when they attain teenage, and they are given off for marriage to reduce costs of living. Tribal ties are achieved through marriage and majority of African societies form alliances through clan marriages. The dreams of these innocent girls are cut short especially if they are infected with HIV/AIDS and die while young. Moreover, according to WHO, most of those marrying girls have a low level of education and are in a pool of poverty (Delprato et al. 2015). When they are married off, the cycle of poverty just continues and this increase the risk of contracting the disease. The most recent statistics indicate that sub-Saharan African has more than 1.4 billion people living under $1 a day and more than 70% of them being women (Delprato et al. 2015). These conditions predispose women to HIV since, in an attempt to meet their daily needs, they end up trading in sex that in turn make susceptible to HIV.

In the sub-Saharan African regions, the majority of women aged 18-49 were married off at early age majority of them being forced to teen marriages at a premature age (De, Beegle and Dercon 2017. Some parents opt to withdraw their children from school for fear of sex predation by teachers. Besides, marrying them off is considered an act of protection and to reduce the threat of poverty in a household (De, Beegle and Dercon 2017. Early marriages deny girls of their rights to education that could probably reduce the risks of contracting HIV.

In many African societies, girls are forced to leave school once they start menstruation cycle act that places them in a compromising situation that predisposes them to early marriages. Early marries will continue to increase the poverty cycles in sub-Saharan countries (De, Beegle and Dercon 2017). Moreover, there are actual costs associated with marrying off the girls. For instance, there is an increased rate of infant mortality that occurs in girls of around 15 years of age. At this age, girls are likely to die during pregnancy or delivery. Furthermore, they are at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and worst of all HIV/AIDS.

Studies have shown that majority of these girls facing early marriages challenge are primary school kids. For instance, research was done in Kuria, Kenya indicated that marrying off children is one of the most celebrated traditions. It is regrettable since the potential future drivers of the economy are given off (Delprato et al. 2015). Such kind of situations is not only happening in Kenya but entire sub-Saharan countries (Weiser, S. 2015, p.1889). The government authorities should put in place strict measures to curb this menace. In some five villages in Egypt, girls are married off by needy parents to rich oil-dealers in the Middle East, through the help of brokers (Delprato et al. 2015). Unfortunately, the marriage claims are false since the girls are sold off to overseas and forced into prostitution. The resulting outcomes are a high prevalence of HIV.

Reports have also indicated that marriage is an option solving girls' orphan situation in some parts of Eastern Africa. Guardians opt for selling them off due to inability to support them. There are an increased children slavery, prostitution and child trafficking in countries facing civil wars such as South Sudan.

Majority of children finds their way to the streets due to displacement and deaths of parents (Delprato et al. 2015). Life in streets are not favorable, and these innocent children engage in prostitution that increases the spread of HIV infections.

Early marriages also a common practice in Zambia. Studies have shown that over 40% of women were married off before reaching 18 years of age. Moreover, the studies also indicate sexually active girls at adolescent are married off which is about 44% (Butts et al. 2018). These results expose the extent of early marriages in the country. Furthermore, the rates of unprotected sex are recorded at 82% that implies that there is a high of HIV prevalence.

Migration, Poverty, and HIV

Studies have shown that there is an existence of an epidemiological relation between HIV and movement. Majority of people from rural areas stricken by poverty opt to migrate to urban centers in search of livelihood. A recent study done in Senegal indicated that migration contributed to about 27% of the spread of HIV (Hargreaves et al. 2015). The study found out that men moving from one country to another were responsible for the transmission and of the total percentage of those infected, 11 rates of their spouses were HIV infected. Moreover, the findings of the study indicate that migration was because of a high level of poverty in their households (Hargreaves et al. 2015). This, therefore, is an indication that there is a link between migration, poverty, and HIV.

Many risks come about due to migrations of people from one place to another which results typically from poverty (Pascoe et al. 2015). Lack of money and food forces men to move out of their homes in search of food for their families. Most of them will then come back from with towns with HIV (Pascoe et al. 2015). According to existing evidence, members from the urban centers coming back to the rural areas has a high probability of transmitting the disease to the country members of the community (Pascoe et al. 2015). Some of the women interviewed in Tanzania during the eve of Christmas claimed that they fear the fact that their husbands might come home with HIV from towns during Christmas times. They also said that some female sex workers during the same period will be looking for husbands and are feared to be carriers of HIV.

There are some of the studies that relate HIV spread and infection to migration behaviors of this age (18-49) for instance single workers. These people earn wages and due to their status decides to spend on liquor and sex (Pascoe et al. 2015). A research done in Bokong Lesotho in a Construction site known as Katse Dam indicated that proliferation of HIV was almost 70% compared to neighboring villages. Therefore, construction of infrastructure with the aim of elevating poverty is also seen as a factor that contributes to the spread of HIV. In a nutshell, therefore, migration caused by poverty forces people to search for better livelihoods but later meet with HIV menace.

Massive migration of individuals between 18-49 years in Africa to cities or vice versa is the most significant contributor to the pandemic. Majority of the rural members moving to cities do not have access to adequate information about HIV and will only find themselves infected before they know (Pascoe et al. 2015). After they get ill, they will seek refuge back in the rural. This kind of scenario has been identified as the reason behind high levels of infection in the rural areas. The resulting costs of medication and care for a sick member of the family will negatively affect the members of the same family that results in poverty. Assets are sold to cater for medical bills, and at the same time, the physical labor is derailed since sick members will no longer provide the required services. The outcomes will undoubtedly undermine the efforts of eradicating poverty in the community and increase the risks of HIV/AIDS.

Orphans and HIV

Because the orphans come from a unique socio-economical background that is usually associated with extreme poverty, the prevalence of HIV is very high (De, Beegle and Dercon 2017). A research done in Kagera Tanzania showed that about 6 % prevalence of HIV between the age of 15 and 49. The high incidence witnessed indicates the relationship between the orphanhood and HIV/AIDS (De, Beegle and Dercon 2017). This has been associated with the fact that orphans are low self-esteemed and usually suffer from terrible stigma from members of the society. There is a continual rise in the number of orphan children resulting from HIV epidemic that is approximated to have risen from 3.5% to 32% in sub-Saharan Africa (De, Beegle and Dercon 2017). The rise is very alarming, and action should be taken as soon as possible to curb the situation. Majority of the orphaned children due to lack of care and love, find their way to streets where they face trauma distress and poor health. This makes them vulnerable to extreme abuse and mistreatment that eventually expose them to the risk of HIV.

Commercial sex, Poverty, and HIV

Majority of women from the rural areas have been forced to trade sex for food, shelter, and clothing due to extreme poverty states. Commercial sex workers for a long time are considered to play an essential function in the spread of HIV epidemic (Hargreaves et al. 2015). They are at highly exposed contracting the disease and transmit to the entire populace. Even though the risks associated with this kind of business is widely known, the trade is at its peak in sub-Saharan Africa. Unfriendly economic constraints in most of the African countries has led to families separating, and women find themselves in the sex trade, especially in Zimbabwe. Commercial sex business has become the only means of survival, and this put women in a compromising situation and increases the likelihood of HIV infection (Hargreaves et al. 2015). Some of the divorced or separated women opt for prostitution to supplement their meager income to feed their families.

There are a lot of predisposing factors associated with the commercial sex trade, but poverty stands out to be the central cause. Additionally, drug trade and family malfunction among other things are the implications of this business. According to UNDP report, women due to extreme poverty ar...

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