Posts filed under ‘Humanitarian’

HIV/AIDS:Facts And Statistics

The AIDS and HIV crisis is effecting millions of people worldwide everyday. Many of the victims live in poverty and  do not have the accessibility to healthcare that many in first world countries enjoy. This entry will: give you a definition of HIV/AIDS, how it affects people worldwide by region,some facts and statistics to help you better understand the scale of the problem, and how stigmas are slowing down progress in beating this crisis.

HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus): A medical condition that attacks the immune system and T-helper cells.

AIDS(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome): A medical condition and is diagnosed when someone’s immune system is too weak to fight of infection.

The epidemic has had a devastating impact on societies, in countries that are the most affected the life expectancy has dropped to as little as 20 years. The people most at risk are young adults so these countries are also facing slow economic growth, and well as increases in poverty. Many that die have children and leave them behind, Africa for example has as many as 14 million orphaned children and that number is growing everyday.

North America and Western and Central Europe:

HIV and AIDS in higher income countries continues to rise , largely due to ARV therapy that prolongs the life of HIV positive people. This also means there is a larger pool of people who are able to transmit the virus on to someone else. It is estimated that 1.4 million people in North America and 850,000 in western and central Europe. In these two regions 38,000 people lost their battle with HIV.

Eastern Europe And Central Asia:

The epidemic in these areas are quickly expanding. In 2008 the number of people newly infected was 110,000, adding to the 1.5 million already living with the disease. Only a small portion of the HIV positive people in these areas have access to ARV therapy so the death rate in these areas is higher than it otherwise might be, the rate stands at around 87,000 people a year.

Asia:

In India alone 2-3.1 million people are HIV positive. The current estimate for the entire continent of Asia is 4.7 million.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

By far the area in the world most severely affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  The region has around 10% of the world’s population and 67% of the people living in this region of the world are HIV positive. 1.9 million people became infected in 2008 alone, bringing the total number of HIV positive people in the area to 22.4 million. In 2008 alone, 1.4 million people died as a result of HIV/AIDS. The average survival in the absence of treatment is 10 years after infection. ARV therapy can dramatically extend the survival and allow a person to live many years of healthy life, but this treatment is unavailable to most people living in the area.

North Africa And The Middle East:

In 2008 35,000 people in the area were newly infected with HIV, bringing the estimated number of HIV positives to 310,000 in the area, and 20,000 of these people lost their battle with HIV the same year.

Latin America And The Caribbean:

In these two regions of the world, 2.24 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. In 2008 there were 190,000 new infections, and 89,000 people died the same year. The largest epidemic in the area is Brazil with 730,000.

Facts & Statistics:

(these are the facts from 2008)

  • 33.4 million people were living with HIV/AIDS
  • 31.3 million adults living with HIV/AIDS
  • 15.7 million women living with HIV/AIDS
  • 2.1 million children living with HIV/AIDS
  • 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV/AIDS
  • .43 million children were newly infected with HIV/AIDS
  • The total amount of deaths were 2 million
  • The total amount of deaths in children were .28 million
  • More than 25 million people have died since 1981
  • Africa alone has over 14 million AIDS orphans
  • In developing and transitional countries 9.5 million are in immediate need of life saving medicine, out of these only 4 million (42%) are receiving these drugs
  • The number of people living with HIV/AIDS has increased from 8 million in 1990 to 33 million today.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa 67% of people are living with HIV

Why is there a stigma related to HIV and AIDS?

Fear of getting the virus itself, coupled with value-based assumptions and general ignorance (whether purposeful or not) leads to the high level of stigma attached to HIV/AIDS.

Reasons why the stigma exists:

  • HIV and AIDS are often associated with behaviors that are already stigmatized in many societies such as homosexuality, drug addiction, promiscuity, and prostitution, people how view those with HIV or AIDS negatively will argue that those who have gotten the virus “deserved it” or that they were “asking for it”. Leading to the conclusion that it is the result of a person’s irresponsibility.
  • There is a lot of inaccurate information on how HIV is transmitted creating irrational behavior and misperceptions of personal risk.
  • Religious or moral views often lead people to believe that those infected are being punished for a moral fault such as promiscuity, and that they deserve to be punished for that.

In trying to understand why there is a stigma attached to HIV and AIDS it is important to remember that it is still a relatively  new disease and the widespread fear and panic of the 1980’s is still fresh in many people’s minds. And many of the irrational fears are still present even in developed countries where treatment for the disease is widely available. For example a recent study found that around 27% of Americans would stated that they would prefer not to work closely with someone infected with HIV.

What effects has the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS had?

The stigma attached to HIV and AIDS has had a profundly large impact. The World Heath Organization (WHO) has stated that the fear and stigma attached to those infected is the number one reason why people are reluctant to get tested, to disclose their status, or to take antiretroviral drugs. This contributes to the spread of HIV because the reluctance to be tested, disclose their status, or to practice safe sex means that people with HIV are more likely to infect others resulting in a higher number of AIDS related deaths. An unwillingness to be tested also means that those with HIV are diagnosed late when then virus has already progressed to AIDS making treatment harder and less effective, often leading to early death.

The widespread fear and stigma is also responsible for the low uptake of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes even in countries where it is free. For example in Botswana, only 26% of pregnant women have used this opportunity to protect their unborn children. Over half refused to take the test, and nearly half of those who did, and tested positive refused to accept treatment.

Research by the International Center For Research On Women (ICRW) found that the possible consequences of HIV related stigma are:

  • Loss of income/livelihood
  • Loss of marriage & childbearing options
  • Poor care within the health sector
  • Withdrawal of caregiving in the home
  • Loss of hope & feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of reputation

Different kinds of HIV/AIDS related stigma:

The stigma often leads to discrimination and denied opportunities to those infected with the virus all over the world, based solely on their HIV status, affecting them in all areas of their life.

1. The Government

A countries laws and polices regarding HIV can have a large impact on the lives of those living with the condition. Discriminatory practices often alienate people living with HIV and lead to a reinforcement of the stigma. In 2008 it was reported that 67% of countries now have some form of legislation in place to protect those with HIV from discrimination and unfair treatment. All though this is certainly progress some argue that the laws are not good enough and still allow for some forms of discrimination.

The government has a large variety of ways in which it can discriminate against individuals or communities that have (or are even suspected of having) HIV here are just a few of the many examples:

    • The president of Uganda, supports the national policy of dismissing or not promoting members of the armed forces who test HIV positive.
    • The Chinese advocates compulsory HIV testing for any citizen who had been living outside of the country for more than one year.
    • The UK legal system can prosecute individuals who pass the virus onto someone else, even if the person did it without intent.

2. Healthcare

In healthcare settings those with HIV may be subjected to discriminated by:

    • Being refused medicine
    • Being refused access to facilities
    • Receiving HIV testing without their consent
    • Lack of confidentiality

Doctors in healthcare settings that are resource poor in areas with little to no drugs are often not prioritized, and sometimes even refused treatment because it is believed that they are “doomed to die”.Discriminated in healthcare settings is not confined to developing countries, it has been reported in many developed countries. How can we help fix this? By making doctors realize the negative impact that stigma has on an HIV patient, encourages doctors to have accurate information about the risk of HIV infection, and encouraging them to not associate HIV with immoral behavior.

3. Employment

In the workplace those who are HIV positive may face discrimination and stigma from their co-workers and employers such as social isolation,ridicule, and they can face discriminatory practices such as termination or refusal of employment. This is a problem largely faced in developing countries it is also a significant problem in developing countries as well.

4. Restrictions on travel and stay

Many countries have laws that restrict the entry,stay or residence of those who are HIV positive. Almost 60% of countries have laws that specifically apply to people with HIV and AIDS based on their positive status alone. This number does not include countries whose legislation include such language as “contagious” or “transmittable diseases” if HIV and AIDS are not mentioned specifically.

    • Until January 4, 2010 the United States restricted all HIV positive people from entering the country, whether their were visiting on holiday or on a long term basis.
    • Twenty two countries including Russia, Egypt, and South Korea deport all foreigners based on their HIV positive status alone.
    • Study by students is restricted in some countries such as Malaysia and Syria if the student is HIV positive
    • There are travel restrictions for HIV positive people in 196 countries around the world

5. Community

Those who are HIV positive face discrimination and stigma in their communities all over the world this can have a large impact on their life. If the reaction is hostile enough, which in many cases it is, the person with HIV may have to live their home or change their daily activities and schedule such as shopping, socializing, and schooling. Discrimination can come in many forms ostracism,rejection,verbal and physical abuse this hostility has even extended to murder.

6.Family

In the majority of developing countries the families are usually the primary caregivers if someone falls ill. Not all family responses are positive however, and HIV positive people may face discrimination, abuse and stigma from within their own homes.


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September 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Refugee & IDP:Facts And Statistics

This article will look at Refugees and IDPS worldwide statistics and facts,causes, reasons, and definitions. I created this to try to give as in depth of a look at the issues as I could without forcing the reader to feel as though they are reading a books worth of information. That being said I will write more in depth articles in the future.

What is a refugee?
The term refugee, like the people it describes covers a lot of ground, people define this word differently from politicians, the press, and aids workers and anyone in between. The rights of refugees, and the responsibility of the worlwide community is another topic frequently up for debate.What is a refugee?The official definition as set by the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) describes a refugee as an individual who is:
“Owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable or — unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
The definition of a refugee was later expanded in 1967 to include people who fled from war or other violences in the country. The majority of refugees who leave their country often seek asylums in countries neighboring their country of nationality.
Refugee Facts And Statistics:
The total number worldwide is a hard number to know but The U.S Committee for refuges gives the world total of  as 62,000,000 (62 million), and estimates that 34,000,000 (34 million) of those were displaced due to war.
What is an Internally Displaced Person (IDP)?
An internally displaced person (IDP) is an individual who like a refugee is fleeing from persecution or violence, but the difference is they stay in their country of nationality.
IDP Facts And Statistics:
Know one could know the exact number but it is estimated that there is around 25 million in 52 countries. Note that this number does not factor into the number of refugees.Africa has 11.8 million IDPs in 21 countries.
List Of Countries With A Considerable Amount Of IDPs:
Sudan: 5-6 million
Iraq: Over 2.5 million
Colombia: 2-3 million
The Democratic Republic of Congo: 1.5 million
Pakistan: 1 Million
Azerbaijan: 1,000,000
Uganda: 869,000
Cote d’Ivoire: 709,000
India: 600,000
Burma (Myanmar): 503,000
Zimbabwe: 560,000-960,000
The Philippines: 300,000
Kenya: 250,000-400,000
Sri Lanka: 250,000-300,000
Serbia: over 225,000
Georgia: 220,000-300,000
Cyprus: 210,000
Indonesia: 200,000-350,000
Ethiopia: 200,000
Israel: 150,000-420,000
  • Gaza and the West Bank: 2 million

The Central African Republic: 197,000
Chad: 178,000
Afghanistan: 132,000-200,000

September 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm Leave a comment

Human Trafficking:Facts And Statistics

Facts, figures, statistics, and a definition of human trafficking:modern day slavery. This article is just one of many on the topic I plan to publish onto the blog, this post is just a brief overview of the problem.

The United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime (UNODC) defines human trafficking as:

”The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

  • The sexual exploitation of women and children as a result of human trafficking is estimated to earn 28 billion dollars a year.
  • 27 million people are in modern day slavery across the world.
  • Anywhere between 700,000 to 2 million people are trafficked across international borders annually. 80% of these victims are women and young girls.
  • Over 1 million children enter the sex trade each year. Approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation in the last 30 years.
  • The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14.
  • 50% of transport victims are children. 80% are women and girls.
  • 70% of female victims are trafficked into the commercial sex industry, 30% are forced into labor.
  • 161 countries around the world are affected by human trafficking. 127 countries of origin, 98 transit countries, and 137 destination countries.
  • The human trafficking industry makes 32 billion dollars a year. 15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries, 9.7 billion is made in Asia, 13,000 dollars per year generated per each laborer. The number can be as high as 67,200 dollars per year per person.
  • 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States every year.
  • Victims of human trafficking are subject to: rape, torture, forced abortions, and starvation, and many other forms of abuse, and threats.

Some of the countries of destination include:

Australia,Brazil,Cambodia,France,India,Israel,Japan,The Netherlands,Nigeria,Saudi Arabia,Untied Kingdom,United Arab Emirates,and The United States.

September 23, 2010 at 1:09 pm 1 comment

Albinos hunted for body parts in Africa

Life in Sub-Saharan Africa isn’t easy on anyone especially if you have albinism. In Africa 1 in 3,000 people have albinism, which is the congenital absence of pigmentation in the eyes, skin and hair. People with this condition are predisposed to severe sun burns and often die of skin cancer before their 30th birthday. However for years the weather has been the least of their problems, many in Sub-Saharan Africa believe that people with this condition have magical powers making them a target. Those with albinism are being hunting for their limbs,bones,blood and hair which are then sold on the black market by witch doctors for the purposes of creating potions that are promised to make people rich. It is now common practice to pile rocks on the graves of those with albinism to deter grave robbers.

On the black market a limb of an albino can bring anywhere from $500 to $2000 (USD) in a country where the per capita income is only $450 a year this business could make one a macabre fortune. The attacks are often carried out with machetes left over from wars, only two people were known to have survived these gruesome attacks in Tanzania.

This year in Tanzania alone 19 albinos, including young children have been mutilated or killed, increasing violence has caused thousands of albinos living in the area to live in fear. This violence has prompted the Tanzanian government to mobilize in order to protect their albino population. Police officers are making a list of albinos in every corner of the country in order to better look after them, they have even begun escorting children to school. Many have fled towns and cities and made their homes on the remote island of Ukerewe where they can live in relative safety. This island is believed to have the highest concentration of albinos, or zeru as they are called in Africa, in the world. At least 10,000 people have been displaced or have had to go into hiding since the killings started. 54 people in Tanzania have been murdered since 2007, and perhaps dozens more have been injured, the violence continues to increase.

September 23, 2010 at 1:05 pm Leave a comment


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