HIV & AIDS are having a widespread impact on many parts of African society. The points below describe some of the major effects of the AIDS epidemic. For a more detailed examination, visit our African impact page.
- In many countries of sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is erasing decades of progress made in extending life expectancy. Millions of adults are dying from AIDS while they are still young, or in early middle age. Average life expectancy in Sub-Saharan Africa is now 47 years, when it could have been 62 without AIDS.
- The effect of the AIDS epidemic on households can be very severe. Many families are losing their income earners. In other cases, income earners are forced to stay at home to care for relatives who are ill from AIDS. Many of those dying from AIDS have surviving partners who are themselves infected and in need of care. They leave behind orphans, grieving and struggling to survive without a parent’s care.
- In all affected countries, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is putting strain on the health sector. As the epidemic develops, the demand for care for those living with HIV rises, as does the number of health workers affected.
- Schools are heavily affected by HIV/AIDS. This a major concern, because schools can play a vital role in reducing the impact of the epidemic, through education and support.
- HIV/AIDS dramatically affects labour, setting back economic activity and social progress. The vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa are between the ages of 15 and 49 – in the prime of their working lives. Employers, schools, factories and hospitals have to train other staff to replace those at the workplace who become too ill to work.
- Through its impacts on the labour force, households and enterprises, HIV/AIDS can act as a significant brake on economic growth and development. HIV/AIDS is already having a major affect on Africa’s economic development, and in turn, this affects Africa’s ability to cope with the epidemic.
Article taken from http://www.avert.org/aafrica.htm (Please visit for more info on Aids in Africa)