Speaker says AIDS,
HIV affect young women in Saharan Africa
Published on Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Young women are
affected the most by HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, Karen Stanecki
of the U.S. Census Bureau told K-State students and faculty Tuesday
her lecture, "HIV/AIDS in Africa: How Changing Demographics are
Affecting Women and Youth" as a part of the Donald J. Adamchak
Distinguished Lecture Series in the K-State Student Union Little
Theater. Scott Velasquez, graduate student in sociology, said Stanecki
was chosen to give a presentation because one goal of the lecture series
is to bring expert speakers to K-State.
doubt, we achieved that goal this year with Karen Stanecki," Velasquez
said. "She is considered to be one of the top experts on AIDS in
Women and youth
are the most affected by the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and other
southern African countries, Stanecki said.
million of the current 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS live
in sub-Saharan Africa," Stanecki said. "Over the past two decades, over
16 million Africans have died from HIV and AIDS."
the amount of infections in South Africa began later than in other
African countries, but now South Africa has the most amount of people
infected in the world.
"In the early
1990's, the rates were low," Stanecki said. "The prevalence took off in
studies have shown that young women are becoming infected with HIV and
AIDS before marriage. She said young women who have sex with older men
before they are married are infecting their partners when they get
longest time, it was thought that the greatest risk factor was
marriage," Stanecki said, "that women were getting infected by their
partners when they entered into marriage. Women, in fact, were becoming
sexual before marriage. Younger women were with much older men and there
were age differences with sexual partnership."
young women are more susceptible to the HIV and AIDS virus because their
organs are more vulnerable. Like how young girls have more complications
with pregnancy, young girls' sexual organs have not matured yet,
HIV and AIDS in
Africa also has had a significant impact on youth and children, Stanecki
said. She said that by the year 2010, 80 percent of child deaths will be
because of HIV and AIDS.
"It is the
number one cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa," Stanecki said.
number of orphans is also another problem, she said. By the year 2010,
there will be three times as many orphans as there were in 1990.
"How are they,
as a society, supposed to bring up children with all the adults dying of
AIDS?" Stanecki said.
some of the ways the South African government and other countries have
been trying to combat the problem is by having youth donate blood, but
the policies and systems are not always consistent.
there is less prevalence of the disease among young people," she said.
"We keep hoping that South Africa will have a breakthrough."
freshman in pre-medicine, said the lecture helped her to realize that
she should be concerned with the problems of other countries as well as
"We have to be
aware of other countries," Lovgren said. "What happens there affects us,
too. We can't be oblivious to the problems of others."
the question of who will take care of future generations arises when
there are so many people dying from this disease.
"When we are
losing so many people, who will be there to train the younger
generations coming up? Who will educate the future generations?" she
said. "We don't know who will help those younger generations."