Economics

Aids and the Economics of the Poverty Connection

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A man standing in front of a computer screen

First for the 2016 statistics on Aids Worldwide:

According to 2016 records there were 39.5 million living with Aids worldwide. Of those, 4.3 million were new infections. There were 2.9 million deaths from Aids worldwide in 2016. 80% of those deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa. The countries (42 in number) that are considered Sub-Saharan Africa are those that lies below the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. Africa is divided into North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Some countries such as Chad and Mali fall in both the North and he Sub-Saharan regions. Sub-Saharan is the poorest region economically in the world. This is where you will find some of the least developed countries in the world.

Further statistical studies show that of those with aids 19.5 million of them are men, 17.7 million of them are women and 2.3 million of them are children under the age of 15. Of those inflicted with aids in 2016, 2.6 million adults died of Aids, and 0.38 million children died from it. 83% of those 2016 deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa and 17% happened in the rest of the world. Statistical source: UNAIDS update, December 2016.

The Poverty Connection

It has been recognized for some time that even though there are many factors to the spread of the disease, poverty is seen as a major contributing factor. The truth is that wealthier people have the means to afford the very expensive treatment that is currently available for Aids. Poor people cannot afford to be treated, so they suffer and many die because they lack the money to be treated. Poverty also contributes to other factors that fester illness such as poor nutrition, and poor sanitation conditions and medical supplies.

The Economic Connection

The flip side of the economies of Aids is the pharmaceutical companies who profit from the billion-dollar industry. The cost of the combination of drugs normally prescribed for Aids treatment can cost up to $20,000 U.S. dollars per person per year. The Aids epidemic will continue to escalate as long as the cost of the drugs are inflated by those who profit from their sale. What is the price put on a human life? When did it become more important to own multiple homes and cars over someone being able to survive? The purpose of drugs should be to alleviate pain and suffering and to save lives; not to make the rich, richer!

In 1990 it was estimated that to prevent the Aids devastation it would cost $3 billion a year to fund global AIDS prevention. In the United States every day that much is spent on healthcare, yet those funds cannot be set-aside for those who suffer the most?

Where there is no doubt that education is key to prevention, treatment is key to survival. Those who are already infected must receive the drugs and educational resources available. Those who are aware of the Aids Epidemic must have compassion and a conscience that they will listen to; that will guide them to support the effort to eradicate this disease worldwide. The value of every human life must be honored above the need for greed.

Jill Buch

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