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The Global Aids Crisis And Health Care In The Developing World

1573 words - 7 pages

Paula Bent
Research Paper
12/19/2010
The Global AIDS crisis and Health Care in the Developing World

The global epidemic of HIV/AIDS is rapidly becoming the worst infectious-disease catastrophe in recorded history, surpassing the bubonic plague of the fourteenth century and the influenza epidemic of 1917, each of which killed some 20 million people. (1) The HIV/AIDS epidemic, first identified in 1981, remains among the greatest threats to global health. (2) AIDS has an unprecedented impact on the economy and society because it kills so many adults in the prime of their working lives; it decimates the workforce, impoverishes families, and shreds communities. To summarize, in the worst ...view middle of the document...

A perpetually growing problem has been the tendency to define AIDS, especially in Africa, as a bleak problem, one that is beyond the reach of public policy. AIDS has been framed largely as a matter of private behavior, private suffering, and certain death.
AIDS sufferers have looked to the government to take a more active role in confronting the epidemic because they possess the capacity to distribute resources, to organize education programs, to request international aid with funding and so many other life prolonging assistance. To the dismay of many however, all too frequently the governments in Africa have been slow and uncommitted in reacting to AIDS. As stated in the Frontline documentary The Age of Aids, even Nelson Mandela, by all accounts one of the twentieth century’s most visionary leaders, waited until the end of his term before he delivered a speech on the disease. Many African governments shunned AIDS as a political issue. The Government was also slow to recognize the AIDS as an epidemic in Zimbabwe and is now one of the world’s most severely AIDS-stricken countries.
As the governments stood by HIV–AIDS infection rates soared in these under privileged countries. One reason for the lack of assistance from the government is because they don’t want to draw attention to an incurable disease out of concern for their own political survival. Levels of economic development and bureaucratic capacity are always factors in explaining the scope and effectiveness of governmental response to crisis. Governments must be at the center of AIDS-prevention and treatment efforts because experiences from the past show that where governments fail to act, the disease spreads faster, the eventual costs of dealing with it are higher. On the other hand governments that do respond more forcefully to the issue have registered successes in bringing infection rates down.
The ethical drive to help developing nations in their healthcare and with the global AIDS crisis converges when it is supported by the economics of other nations. They are supported by three major funding sources: national governments, multilateral funding organizations, and private funding. When economics go well funding can be increased and more awareness can be raised. It diverges when in times like today, the drive to provide those ethical obligations are just as great as if the economy was flourishing, however it is a recession. In a recession, national governments, multilateral funding organizations, and private funding, will undoubtedly have less to spend on the global war on AIDS. Another divergence between the two is that many countries lack the resources or infrastructure to incorporate the funding which causes money to be lost. This creates a bigger problem in a recession where resources are scarce.
An example of a legal and ethical issue in regards to AIDS is confidentiality. Because HIV testing and results can carry the risk of discrimination it is a patient’s...

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