Originally uploaded by The Travelling Beaver.
HIV/AIDS is so prevalent in SA that condoms are offered for free in public bathrooms.
The HIV/AIDS situation in southern Africa is an emergency that has immediate and long-term repercussions for the development of the region and for the lives of its people.
South Africa has an estimated five million people living with HIV/AIDS. There are more people infected with HIV/AIDS in South Africa than in any other country in the world. The disease affects all segments of society, but has particularly ravaged historically disadvantaged communities, such as the rural poor, urban marginalized and migrant workers.
The effects of AIDS on children are devastating. Children, particularly girls, are often pulled out of school to care for a sick parent. After the trauma of watching a parent die, these children face the additional burden of adjusting to a new home and experiencing increased economic hardship and uncertainty. One of the most troubling effects of HIV/AIDS is the growth of child-headed households - households where children, once again, usually girls, are left alone to care for their younger siblings. There are about 660,000 children under age 15 in South Africa who have been orphaned because of AIDS and many more who have suffered from the effects of the disease (Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic, July 2002. UNAIDS).
Home care services are crucial in communities where most people cannot afford even the most basic medication and have little access to formal health care. Community volunteers-often poor themselves—are the heart of home—care programs and are at the forefront of our battle against the pandemic.
South Africa is a middle-income, developing country with an abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, energy, and transport sectors, a stock exchange that ranks among the ten largest in the world, and a modern infrastructure supporting an efficient distribution of goods to major urban centers throughout the region. However, growth has not been strong enough to cut into high unemployment, and daunting economic problems remain from the apartheid era, especially the problems of poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Other problems are crime, corruption, and HIV/AIDS.