Aids is a syndrome caused by the HIV virus leaving a body too weak to fight off infection. In Africa, and more specifically Sub-Saharan Africa, there is undoubtedly an AIDS crisis, with 69% of all people with HIV residing in Sub-Saharan Africa and Aids accounting for 70% of all deaths in 2011. According to the world health organisation, all countries have a shared responsibility with regards to global health issues. However, many argue that actually developed countries bear the burden with the most responsibility towards global health issues as they have the most resources and finance to help.
It can be seen that the AIDS epidemic is the ultimate sign of the developed world’s failure to meet its global responsibilities. This is because of the lack of care given by these countries to the crisis and therefore, allowing AIDS to escalate. The developed world have the power to give aid and improve the situation by setting up programmes, sending volunteers and funding accessible health care in these countries. If each developed country was to take a share of the responsibility then arguably, it is unlikely that the situation would have escalated to a full blown crisis.
Many argue that the blame is unfair as every developed nation has a to choose between a myriad of global issues to support. It is unreasonable to say that there has been a failure of meeting global responsibilities as most countries do try to support global issues. For example, currently, a lot of the British foreign aid budget is going towards relief for the Syrian crisis. Furthermore, each developed country has its own share of problems such as trying to drastically reduce their carbon footprint and helping to reduce the unemployment rate in their countries. It can be thus argued that although developed countries have a large part to play in resolving the AIDS crisis, surely African countries have had the biggest failure with its own incapability to control its AIDS epidemic.
In the past developed countries have been successful in resolving world health issues for example, due to the availability of the smallpox vaccine. It can be argued that the nature of AIDS and the stigma surrounding it makes it a very difficult disease to control. The blame cannot be put entirely on developed countries because political factors in Africa has had huge impacts on this crisis. Major African leaders such as the President Thabo Mbeki have denied a link between HIV and AIDS, calling the link pseudoscience, which has led to many people in Africa uninformed about the true prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS.
Religious factors have led to a lack of information being available to the general population about this issue. Many Christian and Muslim religious leaders have banned a number of safe sex campaigns and condom promotion advertisements are banned in Kenya. Although developed nations can help to educate and inform Africans about HIV and AIDS, it is difficult to share this information with the entire African population with political and religious barriers.
Many traditional African traditions such as FGM and circumcision has also arguably led to HIV and AIDS. It is very difficult for developed nations to combat such social issues as these are embedded in many cultural attitudes, and requires the full backing from African leaders in order to stop this practice. However, the World Health Organisation states that the overwhelming majority of AIDS is caused by unprotected sex. And it can be argued that developed nations can be doing a lot more to help with this issue such as making condoms more accessible to the general population.
A huge number of victims of AIDS are young women due to their lives as sex workers as there is a lack of opportunities to otherwise make money for women due to education deprivation. Developed nations, therefore, can be argued to have ultimately failed to meet their global responsibilities, as so many African women are still unable to access education and therefore, unable to progress their lives. Accessible education around the globe is a global responsibility for all developed countries.
To conclude, although developed nations do share a burden of the responsibility in the AIDS epidemic, ultimately this does not show a complete failure of developed nations meeting their global responsibly. This is because, African countries’ attitudes are deeply hindering progression in trying to resolve the crisis with aids denialism, religious factors and traditional practices that are spreading this disease. In order for developed nations to be more effective in the eradication of AIDS, African culture needs to be changed. This must primarily come from within African countries with the help of their governments.