HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.Croat Med J. 2004 Aug; 45(4):402-14.CM
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most severely affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Of the 40 million HIV infected individuals at the end of 2003, 26 million (65%) were living in the area. Reasons for the high infection rate include historical, political, economic, and cultural factors. The diversity of populations, combined with destitution, political and economic instability and hunger, has led to a number of strategies for combating the disease in Sub-Saharan Africa. These include voluntary counseling and testing, community involvement, facilitating behavior modifications, which include consistent and correct use of condoms, reduction in the number of sexual partners, increasing antiretroviral availability, and the involvement of non-governmental organizations in prevention, treatment, care, and support of the infected population. While Uganda has accomplished significant success through these mechanisms, other countries have not yet been able to control the disease. The populations requiring special attention include women of child-bearing age, who make 55% of the Sub-Saharan Africa's HIV infected population, children and the elderly. In this review, the current state of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa will be explored, in many cases referring to the situation in the southern African country of Malawi. Lessons will be highlighted and hopefully will contribute to the debate on HIV/AIDS and success of current and future prevention and control efforts.