What is AIDS and how is it transmitted? AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is caused by a virus called HIV, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus slowly weakens the body's ability to fight diseases. The virus can be transmitted through various ways. One of them is by having sex with an infected person and also by sharing needles with an infected person. A child can also get this virus if it was born to an infected mother and also through breast milk of an infected woman. According to estimates from UNAIDS, an umbrella group for five U.N. agencies, the World Bank and the World Health Organization, 34.3 million people in the world have AIDS , 24.5 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly 19 million have died from AIDS, 3.8 million of them children under the age of 15. AIDS kills about 6000 people in Africa each day. In her book, Opposing view points Tamara L. Roleff says that about 600 deaths per day in Kenya are attributed to AIDS and by 2005 this number is projected to climb to 900 deaths per day (184). Some of the reasons why the HIV virus is spreading so rapidly in Africa are because of poverty, illiteracy and civil unrest.
Most people in Sub Saharan Africa are illiterate and live below poverty level. Knowledge is power and this is what these people are lacking. There have been numerous campaign and workshop to educate people about HIV/AIDS virus but no significant changed. Since the African society is a male dominated society and women have little or no power over any decision making, girls and women are often forced to have sex with men. Men continue to have unprotected sex with different women, and they get infected hence infecting their wives. Some men even refuse to use condoms because of lack of understanding. According to a study conducted by UNAIDS in South Africa about the use of condoms two out ten men said they used condoms during intercourse.