Posted by: bklunk | November 12, 2006

Important Point

Suhaila makes an important point: The HIV/AIDS pandemic puts a great strain on states in the global south and contributes to the status of many failed states.  Is there a chicken/egg problem here?  Does the lack of institutionalization and transparency, corruption and the general inability of governments to deal with problems in their society contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS?  Are states failing because of HIV/AIDS or is HIV/AIDS spreading because governments are not effective enough to help prevent its spread?

Change in Africa?    In a recent article, “Swahili Web Game to Tackle Aids” by BBC News, the issue of Aids in Africa is brought up. The game which was created by Unicef is called “What would you do?” or in Swahili “Ungefanyaje?” It is supposed to reach out to the youth of Africa to help them make their own decisions about the relationship between a male and female. A major part of it is to try to teach the significance of preventing the possiblity of getting Aids.
    This article demonstrates that there is more to the creation of a failed state than war, internal instability, or poverty; the health of people makes a significant difference in the structure of a state. The Aids dilemma in Africa is more devastating than anywhere in the world and if a solution is not found to help reduce the spread of Aids then the future of Africa will continue to remain questionable. Through organizations such as Unicef, more hope is created for helping failed states, and in this case Africa. Something as small as a web game may be the answer to rebuilding the homes and lives of millions of people.

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  1. I think that one of the major questions that this posting brings up is where in the international help in this crisis? HIV/AIDS has reached every state now and has continued to affect a precentage of the population, has weaken armed force recuirtment goals in Russia, and another big wave of infections could double or triple the death tolls. AIDS has already been determined a pandemic and the rate that it is wiping out Africa other states might be wise to take preventative measures against its spread. The best way to stop HIV/AIDS is aid, treatment, and education on the subject, it is obvious that Africa cannot support these options for themselves–it would be wise if other states would step in a fill these gaps. In doing this stablity would be slowly able to return, Africa can get back on its feet, and a pandemic would (slowly but surely) be ended.

  2. One of the most heartbreaking discoveries I found concerning the HIV/AIDS problem in Africa is some of the misconceptions that are hurting many more lives. There is a belief in some areas that if you have HIV/AIDS and have sex with a virgin, you’ll get better. Unfortunately, the problem is so severe that they target younger and younger women and girls. Not only is this type of thing putting these people at risk for the disease, it’s a way to destablize the areas. The main question is how do you stop it? The effects of this disease are taking the strongest members of these societies and reducing them to nothing. The main breadwinners for families are being hit with this disease and the entire family unit is at risk, because there is no one to bring in the income. There is an urgent need to address the problem and find a way to stop the spread of this disease, because entire families and areas are being placed at risk. What is the best way to do so, however?

  3. I agree with both Madi and Rachael; AIDS is the biggest problem in Africa because it further devastates the overall picture and situation in Africa. Unfortunately there are so many other health care problems in Africa, mainly sub-saharan Africa, that AIDS just gets added on to the list of causes of death. It is true that the health situation in Africa and AIDS plays a major role in the failure of Africa, but it will take a lot more than finding a solution for the AIDS pandemic in Africa to get the ball rolling for them. In 2005, the GNI per person in Sub-Saharan Africa was: $1, 970, compared to $41,900 in the U.S. The infant mortality rate: 90/1000 compared to 7/1000 in the U.S. Life expectancy: 48 years compared to 78 in the U.S. 78% of people live on less than two dollars a day, and in the U.S. less than 1%, or practically 0%. 39% of people have access to “toilets,” compared to the 100% in the U.S. Although it may not seem like it, sanitation is a great problem as well in the world, mainly Africa, where the lack of sewage systems causes thousands of deaths because of diseases. Besides the mission to find a solution for AIDS in Africa, the U.N. is also taking an initiative to bring a sanitary sewage system. Therefore, many ask: “what can be done?” and the truth is that Africa is not going to change over night, but if a health care system can be implemented, other factors of failure may be solved, such as the social and economic crisis there as well.
    (Statistics are based on Professor Keefe’s lecture notes.)

  4. Exactly! HIV/AIDS contributes to a failed state; a failed state contributes to HIV/AIDS. Failed states are a huge problem today and it affects alot of people. the situation in Africa makes me sad. i think it is a high priority to address the AIDS/HIV issue. I see NGO’s like Unicef helping to prevent aids but i think we need more way more to make an impact. the international community should help it. some states believe that oh its Africa so they don’t care. they don’t do trade with Africa it is not in there national interest but maybe pretty soon it will affect them and at the point is it to late?

  5. One of the main problems here is that these countries in Africa are unable to afford the expensive treatment options that are offered to developed countries. These treatments have helped lead to life expectancy in these developed countries to become up to 24 years after inception of the disease, and as a result these individuals are able to continue being productive members of soceity. However because HAART, and other HIV reducing treatments are to expensive, and a HIV vaccine that treats all the varying strains of HIV in Africa would be near impossible the best possible solution is education. Education on safe sex seems to be the best solution in facing the HIV crisis in Africa, and should be managed not just by these countries themselves, but outside humanitarian groups most importantly. These Western humanitarian groups with their broader range of information on the topic of sex education seems to be the main tactic on how to stop HIV’s spread throughout Africa, as there work can be specialized in this specific area, in comparison to the goverment which has a lot more things aside from HIV/AIDS to worry about (corruption, economic instability, democratic reforms, etc.).

  6. I think AIDS/HIV is an important issue to many states like Africa and has as the article says contributed to many failed states. I wish that countries would seek a solution through education and not through funding of treatments. While we obviously have to keep funding development of vaccines for those who already have AIDS, I don’t believe the solution for the future is through medicine or money, it is though education about how AIDS spreads. Africa must attempt to change its culture, where it is common to have 10 “partners” in a day. Changing the culture that allows this will not be easy but if it is done then I would expect the prevelance of AIDS to be dramatically reduced through Africa and many other countries who could help change these deadly life choices of their people.

  7. The problem in Africa with regards to HIV/AIDS is the lack of accurate information reaching the masses, not promiscuity as implied with the previous post that it is “common[in Africa] to have 10 partners in a day.” HIV/AIDS contributes to a failed state just as a failed state contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS. One of the most devastating affects of HIV/AIDS is the entire working class is being killed off, contributing more to the lack of infrastructure and lack of economic gains in Africa. Another result of the spread of HIV/AIDS is the raise of obese people in South Africa. Healthy South Africans do not want to be associated with having HIV/AIDS so they gain weight to avoid looking skinny and then being associated with the disease. This result just shows the taboo with HIV/AIDS has risen to a new level, where people will over eat to avoid the association of HIV/AIDS. Just an unexpected result of HIV/AIDS…

  8. Aids/ HIV is a very series issue and it seems to be most prevalent in African nations. But in these underdeveloped failed states the only way to combat this entire issue is to educate the people of Africa and not by throwing money at them. Because up to this point the main solution has to give money, but that so far has not seemed too worked. Yes some will say that is because there was not adequate funding, but some believe that it is because of their cultural mentality. African Cultures and their traditions need to be redefined so as to head off this problem. So far even developed states have not been able to come up with solutions to the AIDS problem, so how can underdeveloped states? Something constructive needs to be done to fix this growing problem in African nations and right now that solution seems to be in the way of education.

  9. An interesting question of the relationship of between AIDS and a failing state. I think that the rise in cases of AIDS are certainly attributed to a failed state and a governments inability to respond to what is an obvious problem within their borders. I don’t think you can say that an issue with AIDS in a country causes it to fail immediately, but in some countries nearly 25% of children are losing at least one parent to AIDS. This type of instability certainly can doom a country to future failure and prevent them from correcting the issue.

  10. In the fight against AIDS education is the most powerful weapon. Whether it be a collection of nations or privately funded organizations, they key to lowering the AIDS infection rate is educating the world’s population about it. It may sound crude, but to be effective the education needs to have a kind of fear factor to it. If people know how horrible of a disease it is to live with then maybe they will think twice before engaging is sexual relations with a stranger.

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