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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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Stigma for Women With HIV And AIDS In Sub Saharan (Essay Sample)


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Stigma for Women With HIV And AIDS In Sub Sahara


Ever since the discovery of HIV approximately thirty years ago, the pandemic has greatly affected most people living in the sub-Sahara region. The number of infected cases in the sub-Saharan account for two-thirds of the world’s HIV infections. A large number of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa is mostly women. Compared to men, reports of women being infected at an early age are more common with girls as young as ten years old contacting the disease. A number of factors have contributed to such high cases of HIV infections in women in sub-Saharan Africa. These factors include structural, cultural, socioeconomic, behavioral and biological risks. Stigmatization leads to denial and secrecy, these two factors fueling the transmission of HIV among the people in sub-Saharan Africa. The fear of being identified as having HIV has discouraged most individuals in sub-Saharan Africa to get tested. Although some parts have adopted means such as antiretroviral therapy to encourage the women and men to get tested, the high cases of stigma still limit most people from getting tested even in cases where there is ready treatment. Eventually, when the infected persons get ill, they now seek medical assistance, but at this stage, the treatment cannot be effective. This essay seeks to discuss the stigma and health effects of women living with HIV and Aids.

The rate of HIV Infections in sub-Saharan Africa

The region of sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected by HIV and Aids. Out of the 23.5 million people with HIV worldwide, 69% are situated in the areas of sub-Sahara (Ramjee and Daniels 2013, p. 1). Countries like South Africa and Swaziland have the most people living with HIV, followed by Namibia and Mozambique. The most common means of transmission is through heterosexual sex. Across entire sub-Saharan Africa, approximately one woman is infected with HIV every minute. By the end of 2011, close to 92% of pregnant women living in the sub-Saharan region were HIV positive (Ramjee and Daniels 2013, p. 1). However, the data can be regarded as inaccurate due to the difficulty in conducting a proper survey across the region. Nonetheless, the various surveys conducted across countries in East Africa, South Africa, and Zambia show a decrease in the number of infected pregnant women. According to a survey by the Human Sciences Research Council, most young women who contracted HIV are unmarried (Ramjee and Daniels 2013, p. 1).

Factors That Contribute to HIV Infections among Women In sub-Saharan Africa

Various factors have given rise to most women having contracted HIV in comparison to men. These factors include structural, social and economic, cultural, and biological.

Structural Factors

Factors including stigma related to health and migration, gender inequality, and gender-based violence are some of the common structural vulnerabilities that contribute to HIV infections among females living in parts of sub-Saharan. The social norms that exist in most African communities often lead to gender inequality as cultural beliefs such as male sexual entitlement and lack of women empowerment lead to low education levels for women, lack of legal support and economic power. The inequality among the communities also limits the sharing of resources such as land among the women. Resultantly, women tend to depend upon the men for financial support and in order to receive the support, men force the women into sex.
The gender norms present in such communities in sub-Sahara also encourage polygamy among men, whereas monogamy is meant to be pra...

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