Overall, though, the biggest problem with HIV / AIDS is that there are so many people in countries like Africa who are contracting it and who cannot get proper treatment for it (Batchelder, 2002).
A large segment of the population is sick in that country with HIV / AIDS, and more children are being born to mothers who are infected. Most of the time, the infection passes to the children before or during birth, and that drastically shortens the life spans for these children (Cohen, 2005). This is a sad state of affairs, but there is only so much that can be done. The people in Africa and other countries where HIV / AIDS is rampant need education, but they also need supplies like condoms to protect themselves from disease. If they do not understand about protection and/or they do not understand that they could catch a deadly disease if they are not careful with their sexual life, HIV / AIDS will continue to spread. There was a time not that long ago when scientists had no idea how to treat HIV / AIDS in any country, and there was speculation that the disease could wipe out very large segments of the population. That did not happen, of course.
However, just because that did not come true does not mean that anyone should get complacent about HIV / AIDS. The creation of better medications stopped or at least greatly slowed the spread of HIV / AIDS in developed countries, but it did virtually nothing for countries like Africa where supplies of life-saving drugs are generally not available and more people are getting sick every day. There is also the concern that a new strain of HIV / AIDS will appear, or that the virus will change enough that the current drugs will lose some of their effectiveness or stop working altogether. By paying attention to what researchers are doing and by working to help people in less fortunate countries, it is possible for companies to do big things to slow the spread of diseases like HIV / AIDS. That is very good news for people who live in places without much access to medical care, because they do not get much help from anyone for any reason. They may seem like a lost cause, but there is plenty that can be done to help them have a better quality of life.
Ignoring world health problems like HIV / AIDS is not the way to go. Even if a person does not know someone who has been directly touched by the virus, an expanding circle of friends would likely turn up at least one person who has been related to, involved with, or friends with someone who contracted HIV / AIDS. Not everyone gets the virus through sexual activity, either. It can also be spread through sharing needles to inject drugs and through blood transfusions. Understanding that sexual activity is not the only way to contract HIV / AIDS helps to take some of the stigma off of the virus, and allow more people who have the disease to be accepted. That is progress, and it is very important no matter whether that progress is being made in a developed country or in one that is not as developed. All progress that leads people toward a common goal of better health is good progress, and big companies (and even small companies) can play a huge role in that progress.
Batchelder, T. (2002, April). The Anthropology of HIV-AIDS. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.
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Cohen, M.A. (2005, October). The emergence of AIDS in the U.S.: interview with Roberto Giraldo, MD. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.
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