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World Population and Aids
|by Subrata Mukherjee|
Serena has gone to Albany in New York to start a new life with her Uncle Tom. Both her parents had died in Mozambique of AIDS and she had no one to take care of her. In her country nearly 1.2 million are HIV infected. 13% of the World's population staying in Africa alone are HIV positive. More people died of AIDS in 1999 than in any previous year. The 2.6 million deaths in 1999 brought the estimated total number of deaths since the beginning of the epidemic to 16.3 million.
The AIDS epidemic affects people of all ages. About half of all people who contract AIDS are under age 25. Over 90 percent of the children under age 15 who contract HIV are born to mothers with HIV. Women can pass HIV to their children during pregnancy or delivery and through breastfeeding. Over the course of the epidemic, AIDS has left over 11.2 million children under age 15 without their mothers and many of those same children without a father. While some therapies can lengthen the life of someone with AIDS, there is still no cure for AIDS.
Although population growth has complex sources in the industrial revolution, and improvements in medical technology which have reduced the infant mortality rate in underdeveloped countries. Many of these countries have cultures which have traditionally sought large families, both to compensate for early deaths and to provide additional family help with traditional labor-sharing.
All is not yet lost. However the efforts have to be taken both at the social and the religious levels. Population measures aimed at voluntary contraception, education, family-planning, empowerment of women to have autonomy over their own fertility and reproductive process, and the providing of economic circumstances in which full education and autonomy is possible. Religious patriarchs should publicly rescind harmful statements encouraging population growth, such as those opposing contraception and claiming sex is solely for procreation.
Abortion still remains a controversial issue of new medical technology, because it presents an ethical continuum. It is a matter of individual conscience, which needs to be discussed further through continuing ethical debate, rather than religious edict and violent conflict. Good education, free access to contraception, responsible use and advance reproductive advice is a constructive alternative.
On the whole we all have to appreciate the size of the world would to an extent govern the state of the world. In this millennium, the common man has to keep his family small, so that he enjoys a decent lifestyle.
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