HIV/AIDS AND STDs
HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases have become a major concern to most of the global governments. This has been due to the alarming rate that the citizens of these countries have been contracting the viruses of these sexually transmitted diseases. Though the governments seem to have done the right, they seem not timely to effectively fight the epidemic.
The alarming rate in which have been contracting HIV/AIDS has been highly influenced by various factors which may be classified as sociological factors as well as economic factors. The rate in which globalization is spreading throughout the world may be a major factor in helping the spread of the sexually transmitted diseases. Globalization has been blamed for issues such as moral decay with a lot of pornographic materials in the market which are cheap to acquire. Besides that, these immoral materials usually lands in hands of young people who are just too willing to experiment anything.
Drug abuse is another issue which has made people contract these viruses. In some cases in developing countries, there has not been an effective curriculum which catered fully for sex education. This has made young people be exposed to situations where they have to make tough decisions regarding sexual desires and the risks that they expose themselves to.
Cultural practices have also contributed to the spread of the spread. Some of the practices such as female genital mutilation pose the victims who succumb to such a ritual to these sexually transmitted diseases. People who conduct such rituals use crude weapons which are neither sterilized nor specially designed for these practices.
The governments seem to have strongly put up the fight against the spread of the sexually transmitted diseases. The governments have put up councils which sensitize on the prevention and the risks of the sexually transmitted diseases. These councils work with the communities in trying to combat the disaster. Besides so, there has been incorporation of sex education in the education curriculum so as to prepare the young minds.
Most of states have started research programs so as to fight the HIV virus. HIV virus seems to be the toughest of the viruses. This is because scientists have not been able to find the cure for the disease. Besides so, AIDS is an opportunistic disease which makes the situation even more complicated as one has to use medications for diseases such as tuberculosis which are easily transmitted by air. The immune system is so weakened that a little infection may be the last nail in ones coffin.
The spread of HIV and other STDs is not uniform in all parts of the world. It has been evident that the rate of contraction is high in the developing countries than in the developed countries. Issues of political, social and economic factors contribute heavily of the HIV/AIDS and STDs. It has also been evident that the fight in developed countries is much stronger than in developing countries. The research and sex education has been in top gear. Developed countries are also helping the poor countries by funding their projects in regard to the epidemic.
Statistics of STD
Syphilis, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Statistics in the USA.
The above table has been retrieved from http://www.simplexlove.com/std-statistics/
The table only represents the figures of STDs infection in USA alone. It has been estimated that for every five people in USA one of them has an STD. Another intriguing issue is that of all the infected people two thirds are either 25 year olds or even younger. Besides so, at least one in four new sexually transmitted diseases usually occurs at teenage. These statistics show that young people are the one who are at the high risk of contracting an STD. This may be out of their highly risky sexual behavior that they practice. The usual drug abuse also deteriorates their ability to make principled decisions.
Peer influence has been major issue making young people engage themselves in risky behavior. Considering the vulnerable adolescence stage, the young people are likely to engage themselves with practices which the youngsters pose as experiments.
Other statistics show that there are over four million US people infected with Chlamydia. There are over three million people infected with trichomoniasis. There are over 1.1 million people infected with gonorrhea. There are over 120000 people who are infected with syphilis.
Global HIV/AIDS estimates, end of 2008
At the end of the year 2008, UN agency concerned with HIV/AIDS-UNAIDS- published the following global statistics on people living with HIV/AIDS by thoroughly breaking down the information.
|People living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||33.4 million||31.1-35.8 million|
|Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||31.3 million||29.2-33.7 million|
|Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||15.7 million||14.2-17.2 million|
|Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||2.1 million||1.2-2.9 million|
|People newly infected with HIV in 2008||2.7 million||2.4-3.0 million|
|Children newly infected with HIV in 2008||0.43 million||0.24-0.61 million|
|AIDS deaths in 2008||2.0 million||1.7-2.4 million|
|Child AIDS deaths in 2008||0.28 million||0.15-0.41 million|
The agency also stated that an estimated number of over 25 million people have died as of AIDS since 1981. This has made Africa have over 14 million orphans out of AIDS. On a critical view of the information above, women constitute to almost fifty percent of those people living with HIV/AIDS globally. There are more than 9.5 million people who are in dire need of life-saving AIDS drugs or the ARVs- anti-retroviral drugs- while only four million which is equivalent to forty-two percent are receiving the medication.
Retrieved from http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm
From the graph above the number of people who have contracted HIV/AIDS has greatly increased from a little three million people globally in 1990 to a massive thirty three million people world wide. And the number is still counting. Of this massive thirty three people, 67 percent are in the sub-Saharan Africa.
Regional statistics for HIV & AIDS, end of 2008
& children |
living with HIV/AIDS
& children |
adults & children
|Sub-Saharan Africa||22.4 million||1.9 million||5.2%||1.4 million|
|North Africa & Middle East||310,000||35,000||0.2%||20,000|
|South and South-East Asia||3.8 million||280,000||0.3%||270,000|
|Latin America||2.0 million||170,000||0.6%||77,000|
|Eastern Europe & Central Asia||1.5 million||110,000||0.7%||87,000|
|North America||1.4 million||55,000||0.4%||25,000|
|Western & Central Europe||850,000||30,000||0.3%||13,000|
|Global Total||33.4 million||2.7 million||0.8%||2.0 million|
Retrieved from http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm
The data above shows the number of people living with HIV/AIDS has been classified above in regard to the region or continent with Sub-Saharan African having the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS. This indicates that the facilities in the Sub-Saharan Africa are wanting and may not be effective enough to combat the epidemic. Africans are yet to embrace conventional practices of living. They are not ready to shun their old rituals which are not helpful in anyway. On the other hand, ineffective governance mechanisms are always failing their subjects. With massive corruption, some of the donors even withhold their funding as some elements in the government will have to illegally benefit from the funds.
As at the end of 2008, it was estimated that more than two and half million children and adult had been infected with the HIV. Over two million deaths from AIDS were seen as a massive 33.4 million people were living with HIV/AIDS were living with HIV/AIDS. The year also saw two million deaths from AIDS, despite recent improvements in access to antiretroviral treatment.
HISTORY STDS AND HIV/AIDS
The issue of sex education is a really conventional educational topic. People of the ancient times were not free enough to boldly discuss sex involved issues with their children. People lived in the countryside where they reared animals in their farms. At times, these animals would experience biological behaviors involving reproduction. In these instances, they would make observations about reproduction despite having no sex education.
The issue of sex education was mainly presented who were just about to get married. They were to observe their virginity until marriage. The issue of chastity in the classical times was very important as religion impacted heavily on people’s lives. People would live to the word and those who did not do so were taken as deviants. Girls were under very heavy protection by their parents. It was obscene for a girl to be seen walking with boys. (Chen 1996)
As the 1830s were approached, health reformers as well as ministers in England and America approached sex education in a different way. They published pamphlets such as Sylvester Graham’s 1834 Lecture to Young Men and the Reverend John Todd’s 1845 The Young Man. Hints Addressed to the Young Men of the United States. These publications were mainly directed to young men who had gone either to work or school. (Moran 2000)
These publications mainly discouraged young men from expressing their sexual urges till they engaged in matrimonial bliss. These publications contained theological, nutritional as well as philosophical information. The publishers though were mainly disturbed by the issue of solitary vice. They presented claims that masturbation in men would bring physical as well as mental problems. These publications were never directed to girls as the authors understood that girls were always under their parents unlike men who were mobile either at work or school. (Moran 2000)
In Europe, especially France, publications on sex education started circulation in the 1880. These publications were not there for everybody. They were mainly meant for the rich women. They would use them to teach their daughters on the importance of preserving chastity until they were married.
Formal sex education started in the early twentieth century. This was out of the present trend of urbanization. People were moving from the countryside to towns. As a result, elements of prostitution were evident. The issue of prostitution came hand in hand with contraction of some sexually transmitted diseases which included gonorrhea and syphilis. They described them as venereal diseases which were presented by all people despite their class. The diseases came with symptoms such as pelvic inflammation, infant blindness and insanity. (Bigelow 1916)
In the early twentieth century, education became compulsory in most of the European and American states. The school would be an invaluable avenue to present sex education. It is at this juncture that it was incorporated in the education system. The way it was presented was in such a way that it was to distract the young minds from sexual desires. (Moran 2000)
They therefore taught on the basics on the reproductive system, the grave dangers of syphilis and gonorrhea as well as the dangers one would get exposed to if they practiced sex before marriage and even after marriage. The educators heavily discouraged teenage pregnancy. Classes were attended separately for both of the sexes. Boys would have their own classroom while girls would have their separate classroom too. (Chen 1996)
The federal government became directly involved with sex education during World War 1. During this global event, more than half a million young men who were to fight in World War one were given exclusive sex education training. This was to help them avoid contracting syphilis and gonorrhea in the battlefield with the locals.
The training given to the soldiers was introduced to school curriculum although with some modifications(Chen 1996).
. As time went on, sex education in United States and France was taught in biology classes in high school. Educators as well as other members of the society accepted the fact that sexual fulfillment was ideal in a marriage institution. This therefore made the educators not to generally condemn sex but show its negativity if practiced in the wrong manner. (Irvine 2002)
As time went on, there has been Cultural Revolution. This has seen the issue of sex become more public. Parents were able to speak to their children on sexuality. The society acquired new behaviors such as homosexuality and heterosexuality. There has been change in the way sex education was presented from the traditional abstinence to ‘safe sex’. Safe sex education has incorporated education pertaining usage of contraceptives. The students were now advised to utilize condoms and other prevention methods.
From the history, sex education was presented depending on the society’s general view of sexuality. As the culture evolved, people got new perception on the whole issue of sexuality and thus for the course to be effective to the youths, it must be conventional assuming that most of the teenagers are well informed about sex. (Chen 1996)
The history of STDs on the other hand may be different. Before the 1970s only gonorrhea and syphilis were mainly known to people. This was due to the minimal advancement in the area of medicine. There was no advanced technology that would help detect some of the infections. Syphilis was even confused with gonorrhea. With the discovery of antibiotics-penicillin- it was now possible to cure some of the infections. The discovery of salvanasas a type of arsenic also boosted curing of the sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia was later discovered in 1976. While HIV was detected in the early 1980s. at first, scientists were confused on the origin of the virus. They later came to trace the origin of HIV. They stated that the virus may have originated from a primate, assumedly from the west of the Equatorial Guinea. At first, scientist observed that a trend of opportunistic diseases which could possibly be prevented by the body immune system were harming people. The study of HIV was also complicated as it has a long asymptomatic period.
The development in the research for the cure for HIV/AIDS has taken big strides though the ultimate objective has not been achieved. Despite that, there are the life-saving drugs which are keeping people living with HIV/AIDS longer.
GLOBAL EFFECTS OF S.T.D
To a great extent, the sexually transmitted diseases have affected our day to day lives. In most of the economies throughout the world, it has been evident that a sizeable portion of employable labor is wasted after contracting mainly with HIV/AIDS. Most of the victims are left weak to some great extent that they cannot be able to offer satisfactory services to their employers. Therefore, their employers have to lay them off.
HIV/AIDS has also come with poverty. Once those people have been sacked by their employers, some of them have no other alternatives. This leads them to leave a life in poverty. Some of the people who get the bad news that they have contracted the virus end up losing hope in life.
Another dangerous effect that is evident is the huge number of orphans being left behind after their parent’s die of AIDS, most of these children are either left with their aged grandparents who may not effectively take necessary care of them. With no parents around, these children may not be able to acquire the necessary education skills which may help shape their future life. What will ultimately be in increase is crime. Out of the high poverty levels and lack of hope in life, the society is more likely to witness immoral behaviors.
DEMOGRAPHICS OF S.T.Ds
From the earlier statistics that had been provided, women present the highest number of people living with HIV/AIDS. The youths have presented the highest number of people who are contracting S.T.Ds. this may be out of the moral decay, drug abuse and peer influence. The large number of women living with HIV/AIDS may be explained by the way the society has always viewed them as an inferior sex. The varying number of people living with HIV/AIDS may be attributed to the social, economic and also the political environment.
OBSTACLES OF SEX EDUCATION
Sex education has encountered many obstacles. If for instance we keenly observe an African community, sex topic is a taboo for one to walk about talking of it. In African communities, parents will not about sex until one is old enough to enter the marriage institution. As evident, the church has also been an obstacle to sex education. In regard to safe sex, the church is against the idea of contraceptives especially condoms. Some of the conservatives on the other hand are not ready for the conventional sex education. They state that this type of sex education is far too explicit and would rather stick to their classical sex education version. What they do not really understand is that the society since then undergone cultural change and new behaviors are within the society.( Irvine 2002)
U.S.A INTERVENTION –challenges, epidemiology, social behavior
The government of USA has had time trying to combat the Sexually transmitted diseases. This has been case because of the out of control type of the society. Engagement in drug abuse especially among the youth is one of the factors that has hampered the fight against HIV/AIDS. The government of USA has been a donor to some of the developing countries in funding projects that are concerned with HIV/AIDS, but they have been encountering corrupt people who selfishly use the money for their selfish gains. The huge number of people living with HIV/AIDS has in some instance been an enormous load for the government to provide.
Who is affected?
After contraction of the virus, sexual partner/s of the victims are at the high risk of contracting the virus. There has been this trend which is very dangerous. We find that people who are married and more so in stable relationships are engaged to other sexual partners which presents a sort of a ring that engages in sexual intercourse. To add to this, if the husband dies and he was the breadwinner to the family, the wife will have a huge burden to carry in taking care of the family.
Pathogens- communication and re-infection
An S.T.D is usually a disease which may be passed on from one person to another by primarily sexual intercourse without the necessary protection through pathogens which include virus, bacterium, fungus and parasites. The main mode of infection is by sexual intercourse. There are also activities which may lead to contact of body fluids such as use of unsterilized sharp objects. ( Uronology)
In some instances, some of the people who are already infected engage in unprotected sexual practices. This makes the person get exposed to pathogens which may have different compositions although they bring the same infection for example HIV. This makes the treatment of the infection more complicated.
This is an S.T.D that is associated with the urethritis. This infection is caused by a bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The disease does not present any symptoms which makes an infected person spread the infection unknowingly. (http://www.medicinenet.com/sexually_transmitted_diseases_stds_in_men/page8.htm#Whatischlamydia)
This is a type of infection that is caused by a virus. It usually causes blisters to the skin on those areas that are exposed to sexual intercourse. Some men who are infected to this infection may experience mild symptoms while others get painful bout due to the blisters in the penis. It is life-long though the victim may experience outbreaks which are very painful. (http://www.medicinenet.com/sexually_transmitted_diseases_stds_in_men/page3.htm#Whatisgenitalherpes)
This viral infection causes genital warts which are smoother. These are fleshy, bumpy and at a times extensive with a cauliflower shape. They are sometimes characterized with burning and itching. They may be found around the penis and anal areas. This type of infection is usually associated to cervical and also penis cancer. It is not curable though the warts can be healed using prescribed applications. (http://www.medicinenet.com/sexually_transmitted_diseases_stds_in_men/page6.htm#WhatisHPV)
Sex education in high school-comprehensive versus abstinence
As we had earlier talked about sex education, the general reproduction study is mainly taught in the subject of biology. The issue of abstinence has become out of control. The youth are not able to control their sexual desires. So, we may not take important strides using calls of abstinence. By advocating for safe sex among the young adults may be much better. Providing the necessary prevention skills and also showing people the negativity of unprotected sex.
Randy Shilts in his book ‘And The Band Played On’ talks of a pretty young man who seduced other men into having sex with him. Gaetan Dagus, a handsome air steward for Air Canada is said to have spread HIV in many parts of North America. He is said to have developed a type of skin cancer associated with HIV. He died in 1984.( WILLIAM 1987)
This legendary basketball player is said to be the best point guard player. He abruptly retired in 1991 after he went public that he had contracted the HIV virus. He later joined the team in 1992 but retired for four years after protests from teammates. He later rejoined the team to play for thirty two games before retiring for good.
There should be policy formulation that will emphasis the youth on better sex practices. On the other had, the government should also bargain for a morally developed society. The youth should at least have something to make them busy and so not waste their time abusing drugs and having parties.
Advocacy for usage of condoms in practice of safe sex is recommended. Sex education to teach the youth on how they should respect their bodies and make justified decisions.
There should be a healthcare system that is fully dedicated to prevention as well as taking care for those who are infected. It should have all the drugs which are easily accessible and affordable, tailored for those who are infected.
The alarming rates of infection of S.T.Ds is an indication of how the society has degraded. The society has lost its morals and putting most of its efforts into immorality. We should embrace values of morality and exercise behaviors that are of benefit to us in the future.