AIDS in Africa is the single greatest threat to Africa’s efforts to reach its full potential. It has taken the lives of over 15 million Africans, has left over 34.3 million infected, and continues to be the leading cause of death in Africa. AIDS has impacted Africa’s economy, society, and education greatly. HIV infected Africans are rarely treated and usually die because of the unaffordable prices pharmaceutical companies are putting on their therapeutic drugs. Many scholars speculate that if this deadly epidemic does not decline, then it could lead to the downfall of the second largest continent in the world.
AIDS is damaging many country’s economies throughout Africa. AIDS related deaths reduce the skilled labor force and cause a shortage of workers. Studies show that by the year 2005, urban based sectors in Africa will lose an average of about thirty percent of their employees to AIDS. Also by the year 2005, AIDS is expected to cost South Africa one percent of its gross domestic product and use up seventy-five percent of the nation’s health budget. Currently, AIDS is now the main reason for workers to be leaving their jobs. Companies throughout Africa are losing workers and money to AIDS, which is making a big impact on the economy.
AIDS has changed African society in a great way. A quote from Nelson Mandella sums up the problems very well. Mandella states, “AIDS kills those on whom society relies to grow the crops, work in the mines and factories, run the schools and hospitals and govern counties… It creates new pockets of poverty when parents die and children leave school early to support the remaining children.” A big problem in African society created by AIDS is homeless children who have lost parents to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, officials say there are any where between six hundred thousand and one million orphans. These children drop out of school and end up hurting the society.
AIDS is now devastating Africa’s education system. In Kenya alone last year, one thousand five hundred teachers died last year.