HIV infection rate by country

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Since several comments that have rattled Zambians involve HIV infection, these are the rate % of population. So Zambia is 7 ranked so 12% of the population are infected with HIV. So that would be around 1.8 million. When you look at the HIV infection rate for countries you will find that a majority are sub saharan Africa. A huge part of the infection rate comes from the fact that at no point in the history of African societies have STDs been a prevalent issue in sexual activity. When you look at the history of diseases it is said
“In medieval times, syphilis and gonorrhoea were two of the most prevalent STDs in Europe. One theory suggest that syphilis was spread by crew members who picked up the disease on the voyages led by Christopher Columbus. They are thought to have contracted syphilis while in the Americas and to have then spread it on their return when docking at ports in Europe. Sailors are also thought to be responsible for the spread of gonorrhoea from Tahiti to New Zealand during the Cook voyages.” Source http://www.news-medical.net/…/History-of-Sexually-Transmitt….
Now the reason why sub-sahara has these high rates is because “The first known case of HIV in a human occurs in a man who died in the Congo, later (from his preserved blood samples) confirmed as having HIV infection.[3][4] The authors of the study did not sequence a full virus from his samples, writing that “attempts to amplify HIV-1 fragments of >300 base pairs (bp) were unsuccessful … However, after numerous attempts, four shorter sequences were obtained”; these represented small portions of two of the six genes of the complete HIV genome.[4]”
The actual virus is rampant in sub-sahara Africa. In 1960 it was later discovered that “HIV-2, a viral variant found in West Africa, is thought to have transferred to people from sooty mangabey monkeys in Guinea-Bissau.””

So yes, AIDS is a disease that comes from Africa in origination hence the density of the infection rates. But you also have to consider what the disease is beyond the stigma. The disease destroys fighting cells in the blood. Leaving the body porous to other diseases. In of itself it cant be said it’s a disease, the issue is that it opens ones blood to other disease. Hence ARVS serve to provide security to those infected. They help boost one’s immune system.
From 1990 to 2000, a generation of Africans paid for this disease. Many people died, because we didn’t know what was going on. It was a disease that many scientist had no idea about so many people died. Between 2000 to 2010 developments were made and many people live a normal life while carrying the virus.

Personally, I have grown up to study this issue and understand it. I have thought about its social and economic impact, the loss of life from the disease took away at least 10 to $50 billion in GDP production by those who passed away just for Zambia.

One thing people should understand, while discussing this issue is that Zambians have lost someone, its either you are infected or affected. Now, the reason Zambians tend to be aggressive on this issue is because of the fact that they, and other sub-saharan countries, took the blunt of the epidemic. Not particularly because of promiscuity, because the Western world is equally sexual, but it was because of the fact that sexual safety was education that was only later introduced. And lives were lost. Zambians remain sensitive on this issue because its not just a scientific study, its not just a social issue; they have lived this issue and have had to deal with it.
It’s similar to Jews. Jews tend to be sensitive on issues regarding genocide because they lived it. Hence you will find Jews at the forefront of language that serves to denounce genocides; including the rhetoric that was associated with Rwanda.
An issue becomes less distant when you know it in real life, the same way that Somalians will be far much more positioned to solicit peace because they understand what war can do. Hence you find that those who understand the ravages of war are unlikely to declare it; because they understand what war means.
As a future leader of the Republic of Zambia, im very much aware of this issue. It is an issue that requires sensitivity not because its not real, but because ITS ACTUALLY REAL. Its not just throwing a bunch of statistics. Its about Mutinta stopping to come to school because her father died of AIDS, its about Bana Mutale leaving 3 children with her mother as she starts nursing herself to health after being infected, its about the little girl who is 3 years old who was infected through her mother and had no choice over the issue, its about the young girl who now has to define her sexuality as an HIV + young girl born in the early 90s. These are real issues and real stories. Its about the young lawyer who went to give blood when there was an accident only to get infected through the blood transfer.

There are many dimensions to HIV and not all have to do with sexual promiscuity. There are marriages that become infected because during pregnancy the wife received a transfusion and infected her husband. Not that anyone one of them was sexually promiscuous.
This is why Zambians get annoyed when people make comments on this issue and generalize an issue that has stories, profound, socially changing stories. When “commentators” simply discuss “ ravaged” or “hiv-rates” they miss the social, economic and health realities that my people have had to endure on this issue. The previous generation offered itself as a sacrifice for the world to eventually understand what this issue was.

To have a casual approach to HIV is similar to berating Americans for the many deaths from Cancer as simply an issue of eating habits for Americans. The cell-degeneration that is caused by cancer is the reason why now we can safely diagnosis cervical cancer in Africa; because other worlds have paid the price of being the first carriers of certain diseases but their sacrifice has led to the prevention.

Matters that involve the existential contemplation of human kind, matters that have real sacrifice and realities so deep should not be taken lightly.
WE PAID the price for HIV for the world to even develop the medicines that everyone now benefits from. WE served as guinea pigs of an epidemic that is global. MANY STDs started in European countries and Africa equally become a victim, but the Europeans paid the price and through their efforts medicines were discovered.

These issues, require exemplified maturity not because we want to hide the truth; but because a greater human price has been paid.

Hence it is far much more prudent for people to respect the sacrifices of others and not casually throw words that have real meaning to a majority of people.

George N. Mtonga II

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One Response to HIV infection rate by country

  1. Very well articulated George.

    muntungwa
    June 23, 2017 at 8:02 am
    Reply

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