Effects of HIV and AIDS:Christiaan
What effect is the HIV epidemic having on the people and communities in South Africa? And what is its impact?
Why are there such high levels of HIV/AIDS in South Africa?
– According to the Department of Social Development, ‘South Africa has a HIV epidemic …. which continues to require the collective and collaborative effort from government as a whole, business sector, civil society and strong community response.’
– Levels of HIV prevalence has increased year on year in South Africa.
– Infant and child mortality rates have been decreasing worldwide but not in South Africa.
– The Millennium Development goals are to reduce infant mortality to 18 deaths per 1000 live births, but in South Africa, they currently have 43 deaths per lives births with the mortality numbers of black children over 135% higher than that of white.
– South Africa is one of only 12 countries in the world where maternal mortality is actually increasing rather than decreasing. The major cause in these infant, child and maternal deaths? HIV/AIDS.
– For many years, the Government denied the prevalence and impact of HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
– The access to treatment has been slow and difficult.
– So, you can see that we are very much needed within South Africa. With our partners, working at grass roots levels within communities we are helping to bring that collaborative effort in reducing the impact that HIV/AIDs are having on the community.
The effects of HIV/AIDS on families in South:
- High levels of child headed households as parents are dying:
Children are becoming the head of the household in many families. They are taking on the responsibilities of parents and are having to leave their childhoods behind. Older siblings are looking after younger children, the house and finding an income. This places huge stresses on them. So, we train childcare advocates who can help these families with nutritional, educational and social support so they don’t feel alone in the world and guide them to places and people where they can access more help.
- Urban informal areas have the highest levels of HIV prevalence compared to urban formal areas:
So, our work is focused within informal urban communities in Johannesburg, meeting the need where the need is. We base our community projects in areas with the highest needs in places where those most vulnerable can access the help they need easily.
- People with no education have higher levels of HIV/AIDS:
This is why we concentrate on keeping the children we work with in school so they can complete their education. Providing educational support, school uniforms, hot meals and help with homework are all important roles of the projects we work with.
- Low socio-economic status is associated with HIV infection:
This is why our programmes ensure that children can stay in school and pass their exams so they have a better chance in life of getting a job.
- Parents are dying:
The highest levels of HIV deaths are between the ages of 25-35 – meaning that many parents are dying leaving the grand parents at the forefront of parenting the orphans and vulnerable children. That’s why some of our programmes have dedicated ‘Grannies programmes’ which provide exercise, nutrition and social enterprises.
- Children are sad and depressed:
At its very basis level, when parents are dying of HIV/AIDS, the children left behind are incredibly sad and depressed. Their lives are incredibly difficult and they need emotional help. This is why our projects use drama therapy to help the children deal with their emotions and talk about them in a safe atmosphere and where they can learn from older children who have gone through the same issues.
A few more effects of HIV/AIDS:
The effects of HIV/AIDS on families in South Africa is devastating. The majority of the population that this disease is infecting is the young adults, leaving behind a generation of children who are growing up without the love and care of their parents. Grandparents and older children are left behind to pick up the pieces which cause financial, emotional and developmental problems.
- HIV/AIDS effects stigma
Although the South Africa government has educated society against the stigma of HIV/AIDS, many still feel shame and secrecy. This affects the care available to the sufferer and their families making it difficult for many to access drugs, income and support.
2.HIV/AIDS effects family life.
HIV/AIDS is responsible for over half of those children in South Africa who have lost both of their parents. These children are left to be looked after by the elderly grandparents (often the Grandmothers) or older children causing many emotional and financial impacts on family life.
- HIV/AIDS effects income.
If your parents have HIV/AIDS they are more likely to be unemployed and therefore have no regular source of income. 80% of families lose half their income when the major bread winner dies of HIV/AIDS.
- HIV/AIDS effects education.
Those families living with someone suffering from HIV/AIDS are less likely to be able to attend school or miss school as they are caring for their sick parents. When parents die of HIV/AIDS, the vulnerable children left behind often live in temporary households as they are moved from family to family therefore making it difficult to maintain regular school attendance. Children growing up in these temporary families or child-headed households are more susceptible to poor self-esteem, poor nutrition and poverty.