HIV/AIDS in Africa

Africa, for the past decade or so, has been the source of much concern on an issue other than war and famine.  HIV/AIDS has ravaged the continent; more than two thirds (68 percent) of all people HIV-positive live in Africa where in excess of 76 percent of all AIDS deaths in 2007 occurred.  The situation has improved in recent years with some countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya and Zimbabwe) marking a downward trend in prevalence.  Yet it still remains grave.  An estimated 1.7 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2007 a majority of who, sadly, are women.  And it gets worse. Globally the number of children living with HIV has increased from 1.5 million in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2007.  Nearly 90 percent of all these infections are in the children of sub-Saharan Africa.

HIV/AIDS is not just deadly.  It deeply penetrates every aspect of society leaving in its path, a trail of destruction.

Significantly, with the vast majority of new HIV infections occurring in those aged 15 through 49, AIDS is decimating the most able workers in society, having severe economic impact.

Most importantly, HIV/AIDS destroys families, the family fabric and in Africa’s case, the long standing tradition of kinship. When a parent falls ill with AIDS, their spouse or oldest child who otherwise would be working and earning money or attending school, are compelled to stay home to care for the individual.  In two-parent homes, if one parent becomes infected, it is inevitable that the second parent will follow. As they decline and eventually die, the children are left to fend for themselves. With no option, often, they sacrifice their education due to need or desire to help and spend as much time with the dying parent and, as the strongest family member, provide for younger siblings.  It is not uncommon that affected families are “robbed” of a majority of their assets as with meager or no income and with limited assistance from governments, families are often compelled to sell off material goods or land to pay for medicine.

Please support Twana Twitu in our struggle against HIV/AIDS and its impact on children.  Together – one child at a time – we can combat the pandemic and convert vulnerable children from victims to victors.