AIDS in Asia the Relationship of AIDS Case Study

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AIDS in Asia

The Relationship of AIDS and Poverty in Asia

Historically diseases such as the Black Plague, Tuberculosis, Influenza, and several others have shaken the constraints of society. In modern times a new disease, Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), has arisen and is just as damaging or worse than any that have come before it. AIDS is a disease that attacks an individual's immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and there is no cure once an individual has contracted HIV / AIDS. Biologists and genetic researchers have concluded that HIV originated in west-Central Africa during the late 19th or early 20th century (Fan, Conner, & Villarreal, 2010). The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first declared AIDS in 1981, and diagnosed HIV as its cause shortly after (Fan, Conner, & Villarreal, 2010).

Since the early 1980s this major health epidemic arrived in modern society, and it has caused fear and poverty in every area of massive outbreaks. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that there is an estimated 33.4 million individuals globally living with HIV / AIDS, and that there are 2.7 million new cases per year along with another 2.0 million deaths caused by AIDS (2011). In 2009 UNAIDS released a report stating that 60 million people have been infected with the disease, and it is believed that 25 million of them have perished (2011).

The epidemic HIV / AIDS has hurt many populations in the world economically and has led to mass poverty and decline in some areas. Many experts point to Africa and the damage the HIV / AIDS has caused in that area, but the continent of Asia has been severely affected as well. To understand better the relationship of AIDS and poverty in Asia the ideals of poverty and HIV / AIDS will be explored. Once garnering an understanding of poverty and HIV / AIDS a connection will be made economically to the relationship of the two ideals in Asia, and several solutions and recommendations will be offered to solve the complexity of the problem in Asia.


To obtain a greater understanding of the relationship between poverty and HIV / AIDS in Asia the term poverty will be explored. A simple definition of poverty is an individual who lacks material possessions or money. The United Nations defines poverty as a fundamental issue in which an individual or nation is denied choices and opportunities and causes the person an inability to participate in society (Sachs, 2006). The United Nations also has stated poverty includes not possessing enough money to feed or clothe a family, an area without schools or health clinics to attend, and a geographic region in which the land is not able to grow enough food to feed the community (Sachs, 2006). According to the United Nations, poverty causes feelings of insecurity, powerlessness, and exclusion of individuals and communities; people living in impoverished areas are also susceptible to violence, fragile or broken environments, and having no access to clean water or sanitation (Sachs, 2006).

The World Bank states that poverty is the lack of an individual or nation in the areas of income, which leads to the inability to acquire the basic necessities necessary for survival and dignity (2011). The World Bank points to the fact that impoverished geographical areas are typically lacking in education, health, clean water, security, and a lack of an opportunity to better one's life (2011).

Poverty can be broken into two categories, absolute and relative. Absolute poverty is described as lacking the ability to afford basic human needs. Relative property is defined as lacking the socially acceptable level of resources compared with others in society or countries. Absolute poverty is more about the individual and relative is more of a measuring tool to compare nations around the globe. When looking at geographically specific areas it is important to understand the terms first and third world countries. A first world country is a country who meets standards economically in a competitor in the global market; third world countries are typically described as areas lacking in material goods and are often considered areas of relative poverty.

Governments can be part of absolute and relative poverty. In some countries governments can restrict the basic needs of citizens via corruption leading to the lack of health care, education, and basic goods to survive. When a government is corrupt it can lead to a nation not having the capability of competing in a global market and in many cases leaving the country in a state of relative poverty. International organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank continue to strive for a world in which poverty is reduced and can eventually be eliminated.


To obtain a greater understanding of the relationship between poverty and HIV / AIDS in Asia the definition of AIDS will be explored. AIDS is a disease that attacks an individual's immune system and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined through vast research that HIV is the contributing cause of AIDS.

When an individual has contracted AIDs his or her immune system is compromised. When the immune system is compromised individuals are prone to a variety of infections and tumors. According to disease and prevention experts HIV is transmitted through the direct contact of the bloodstream with a bodily fluid such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breast milk (Mahmud, 2004). HIV can be transmitted to an individual via anal, vaginal, or oral sex as well as through blood transfusions, contaminated hypodermic needles, and exchanges between a mother and baby during child birth or breastfeeding (Mahmud, 2004).

AIDS affects an individual's health by attacking the pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems as well as causing tumors and psychological disorders (Mahmud, 2004). People who have AIDS also have an increased risk of developing cervical cancer, and other cancers associated with the immune system. AIDS has also been known to give people fevers, sweats (night), swollen glands, chills, body aches, weakness, and can cause weight loss (Mahmud, 2004). Without treatment, the survival time after an individual is infected with HIV is estimated to be nine to 11 years (Mahmud, 2004). Once it is determined to be full blown AIDS and no treatments are received the survival time is an estimated six to 19 months (Mahmud, 2004). In general the disease has an 80% death rate, but modern advances in medicine are slowing the damage and leading to individuals living up to 20 years after contracting HIV.

Geographically, Sub-Saharan South Africa remains the world affected region and in 2007 it was reported that 68% of all living people with AIDS were living in Sub-Saharan Africa (Hunter, 2005). The next worst affected region with AIDS is Southeast Asia. In 2007 it was reported that 18% of all people living with AIDS were in the Southeast Asia area (Hunter, 2005). The country of India has been estimated that 3.7 million people are infected with AIDS (Hunter, 2005). According to the World Health Organization many countries report the average life expectancy of people between the ages of 65-75, but in areas heavily infected with AIDS the life expectancy has declined rapidly (2011).

Economic Impact of AIDS

The economic impact in areas heavily affected by AIDS has been substantial. Economic growth in a country that has a high number of AIDS cases will decline because of a reduction in human capital (Hunter, 2005). People who suffer from AIDS are often sickly and when they do not receive proper nutrition, health care, and medicine they are unproductive employees who often die or become terminally ill at a young age. AIDS victims need significant medical care just to survive, so if survival is a struggle the ability to perform job-related functions may be near impossible. Many economic and health experts have forecasted that countries heavily infested with AIDS will experience collapsing economies and societies (Hunter, 2005).

Businesses and organizations believe that it is a challenge to recruit, hire, train, and retain highly skilled individuals on a normal basis. Countries experiencing an increase in morality have yielded a population with less skilled individuals who can contribute to a productive workforce. When experienced adults cannot work it leads to younger adults foregoing education, and joining the workforce, and without education, experience, and knowledge this slight leads to devalued human capital. Workers productivity also is diminished when they have to take time off to care for sickly parents, children, or themselves. Without strong human capital many businesses and organization will lack success, thus leading them to cease or move operations out of areas that are heavily infested with AIDS victims.

When a country faces a high mortality rate because of an infectious disease, they succumb to a reduction in tax payers. This loss is hard to overcome economically and may lead to a lack of resources available for public expenditures such as education, health services, and an increasingly stagnant economy. Businesses and organization also bear the burden when…

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