Impact, challenges, and response to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa: a review note
Ita Ekanem, Independent Consultant
The protection of populations against HIV and the provision of adequate/affordable treatment and care to PLWHA are key development challenges in SSA. Towards updating concerned policy makers on pertinent intervention strategies, the paper reviews HIV/AIDS prevalence/determinants, impact (demographic and socio-economic), challenges/responses (global, regional, national, sub-national) and recommendations (general, prevention and care, research) in SSA. It notes that governments must (i) create an enabling environment whereby the people have the opportunity to protect themselves from the disease; (ii) provide comprehensive package that encompasses the full continuum of home-based and palliative care, treatment of opportunistic infections, and ARV therapy; (iii) address the cultural, economic, political and social factors that render individuals and communities vulnerable to HIV/AIDS; (iv) foster better scientific understanding of HIV dynamics; (v) be involved in the search for a safe, effective and widely available vaccine. More community/other initiatives with public/private sector support is crucial to containing the epidemic.