The ravages of
HIV/Aids are beginning to be felt all over
This is one of the key findings in a unique research of 700 Aids-affected households in the country, conducted by the American-based Kaiser Foundation over the past year.
The study surveyed households with at least one person already sick with Aids, in
According to Kaiser Family Foundation spokesperson Dr Michael Sinclair, the full document, entitled Hitting Home: How Households Cope with the Impact of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic, is to be published within the next few weeks and circulated to government departments and community and business leaders.
findings run parallel to a World Health Organisation report published this week,
which states that HIV/Aids was now the world's fourth-biggest killer, with 40
million people infected, 70% of those in Africa.
The Kaiser Foundation document, described by those who have seen the full report as "far-reaching and explosive", shows for the first time a "clear snapshot" of what is happening in the country to the million or so HIV/Aids-affected households.
"We believe that this document will be extremely valuable in highlighting not only the current situation," said Sinclair "but will underscore the urgent measures needed to contain this tide of destruction."
The survey also documents the access of Aids-affected households to public services and their satisfaction with the services received, as well as access to government financial support for their households.
Said Sinclair: "Funding is not the biggest problem in addressing the pandemic in
Likely to cause strong reaction is the finding that fewer than 16 eligible households in every hundred surveyed were able to obtain grants.
Other findings include:
More than two-thirds of the Aids-sick individuals in the survey were women and girls, with an average age of 33.
Two-thirds of the households reported loss of income as a consequence of HIV/Aids.
Almost a quarter of all children under the age of 15 in the sample had already lost at least one parent.
In 12 percent of the households, children were sent away to live elsewhere; in eight percent, children under 18 were the primary caregivers; and a quarter of the caregivers were over 60.
and traditional beliefs in honouring the dead also came to light. It was found
that more than half of Aids-affected households paid for a funeral in the past
year and spent, on average, four times their total monthly income on the
Dr Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said: "Everybody knows that Aids is a terrible illness, but this study shows its broader human impact - causing hunger and poverty in those families.
"Sadly, this impact may be even greater than this study shows, because the surveyed households at least had access to some level of outside assistance."