Herpes in Nigeria

Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Nigeria Image

Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that targets the mouth and reproductive organs of the body. The disease is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which has two types: type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). 

HSV-1 is known to cause oral herpes, which infects the lips and mouth. Symptoms include cold sores and fever blisters. HSV-1 is not considered an STD by many healthcare experts, but it is still a serious health concern.

HSV-2, better known as genital herpes, is more severe than its oral counterpart. It affects the genital area, unlike HSV-1, which is limited to the mouth and causes lesions, including blisters and sores, on the skin. HSV-2 can only be contracted by skin-on-skin contact with an infected person. To contract HSV-2, you must come into direct contact with either the mucous membranes from or an exposed cut of an infected individual.

Having one type of HSV does not guarantee that you have the other one too. The two types act independently of each other and even target different areas. However, it is still possible to have both if you contract them at the same time, but one cannot cause the other.

Herpes in Nigeria

Nigeria is in the midst of a healthcare crisis; the rates of genital herpes in Nigeria are higher than in any other country with an estimate of 77.8% of adults being carriers of HSV-2. Older people have a higher prevalence of the disease, with the 51-60 year age group having the greatest rate of disease occurrence. The rates of prevalence are higher in unemployed people than in those with jobs. 

Pregnant women also experience cases of HSV-2. A survey carried out in Benin, Nigeria, showed that a staggering 46.3% of consenting pregnant women from a sample population were HSV-2 positive. 

Diagnosis of Herpes

Herpes is diagnosed by either one or a combination of the following methods:

  • Viral Culture: A lab test is conducted on a sore or tissue sample from the patient.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): This method is used to replicate your DNA from a sample of your blood, sore tissue, or spinal fluid. The resulting DNA is then tested for HSV.
  • Blood test: a blood sample is tested for the presence of HSV antibodies.

An expert physician, especially one working in a region densely affected by herpes, can also diagnose the disease based on a simple physical exam.

Portable Herpes Test Kits

Due to the strong prevalence of HSV in Nigeria, the government and many organizations have made efforts to make self-examination common. Luckily, this can easily be done with the help of portable herpes test kits. 

These kits contain testing materials like cotton swabs and test tubes, as well as shipping envelopes. A person who suspects an infection must collect either a sore tissue sample or mucus sample and send it to the given address marked on the kit inside the special envelope provided inside the package. After a few days, you can access the test results online.

If you’re worried about being infected, but feel uncomfortable about going to the hospital, this is the perfect choice for you!

Challenges Associated with Treating Herpes in Nigeria 

Nigeria is suffering from a herpes epidemic. Despite efforts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other NGOs, the virus still runs rampant amongst the Nigerian people. There are several challenges associated with the eradication of HSV in Nigeria. 

Firstly, Nigeria is a developing country with the highest levels of poverty in the world, overtaking other developing nations like India and Ethiopia. This poverty is the primary reason why it has become so difficult to eliminate herpes from the area. 

Due to poverty, the Nigerian people face a severe shortage of medication as well as testing methods. Their overall lack of education has led to most adults being unaware of the dangers of herpes. This lack of awareness prevents them from practicing safe sex, which increases the likelihood of HSV contraction. 

Those who are aware of the symptoms of HSV often have limited methods of confirming it. There is both a shortage of hospitals and testing kits in the region. Even the efforts made by NGOs are insufficient to confront the healthcare issues faced by the 86.9 million people living in poverty in Nigeria.

Additionally, the shortage of clean water and the prevalence of unhygienic conditions have led to an increase in HSV cases as the majority of Nigerians cannot afford to practice good hygiene.  Due to poverty, many people also cannot afford contraceptives and are thus exposed to diseases that are transmitted through direct contact with genital sores and mucus. 

Interestingly, HSV sometimes appears with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Reports say that HSV-2 makes it easier for people to contract HIV, but making it harder to treat them because of the compromised state HIV puts their immune system in. This is by far the most complicated challenge faced by healthcare providers trying to eliminate HSV in Nigeria. 

An individual affected by HSV-2, as well as HIV, cannot be treated the way a person with only HSV-2 would. Using excessive medication would harm the patient more than help them because of how weak HIV/AIDS has made their body.

Nigeria is severely affected by herpes, which is caused by HSV. It is a viral disease that cannot be treated with antibiotics, making treatment harder than initially anticipated by healthcare experts. The majority of adults in Nigeria suffer from HSV, especially HSV-2, which affects the genital area.

Despite the efforts of multiple NGOs, termination of herpes seems near impossible due to the widespread challenges that affect Nigerians. There is no exact solution for the condition, but medical experts around the world are working towards a cure.

References:

https://www.pulse.ng/lifestyle/beauty-health/genital-herpes-causes-symptoms-and-prevention-of-this-ailment/xnv9z5t

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319524.php#transmission-of-hsv2

https://allafrica.com/stories/200810140635.html

How STD Affected Economic Development in Africa

How STD Affected Economic Development in Africa Image

Economic development in the African region remains low, and STD risks are an ongoing concern. Out of the 40 million people with HIV, 70% of those infected live in Africa. In 2001, 3 million died from the disease, which made it the fourth deadliest disease on the globe. 

Statistics anticipate a steady decline in the African economy for the following years, but the fiscal crisis due to STDs is unlikely to end. These diseases affect the region on a social and demographic level. Poorer households, children, and women are among the worst affected. 

STDs are arguably the most influential factor for the continent’s economic growth, particularly for poor and developing regions. Africa’s human capital is on a decline, and without adequate health care, preventive methods, nutrition, and medicine, a lot more people will fall victim to STDs

The Demographic-Economic Impact of STDs in Africa

This pandemic affects the economic growth rate in Africa by 2% to up to 4% annually. STDs reduce productivity, labor supply, exports, and increase imports. 

Economic measures, treatment, and prevention programs specifically tailored towards managing these diseases are the key to limiting their effect on the economic growth in the region. 

The Effects of STDs on Labor Productivity

Since STDs have long affected the African region, they’ve massively reduced labor productivity. The annual costs in correlation with the sickness have reduced productivity per employee. The reduction in these costs has lowered profits and competitiveness. 

The decline of the agriculture sector in the African region is a typical example of reduced labor productivity from HIV. Those who carry the infection are unable to work. Individuals who’ve carried STDs for a long time have decreased their fertility rates, which has resulted in a massive collapse in newborns. For the most infected areas, this epidemic has left countless orphans behind, unable to get the education or skills they need to participate in the agriculture sector. 

With the constant increase in mortality rates, there are fewer skilled workers available. With the reduced labor force, the individuals who can work are predominantly the younger generation who lack the skills or knowledge to work in a specific sector, which directly influences the company’s productivity rates. 

As more and more workers take sick leave, productivity is slowly taking a downfall affecting the investments that generate human capital. Since the most affected are women and children, the sectors that focus on employing a general women workforce are at a serious threat of experiencing the economic impact of HIV. 

The Effect of STDs on Labor Supply

STDs or HIV, in particular, affect the labor supply by increasing morbidity and mortality. Certain sectors of the labor market are directly affected. 

In the southern region of the continent, 60% of the workers who work in the mining industry are between 30 to 44 years old, many of whom are infected with STDs. In 2002, records predicted that 15 years in the future, the workforce would decrease by 10%.

Many years later, the impact of the diseases did show a significant change in the workforce, which has forced many companies to find a cost-effective way to reduce the prevalence of HIV and STDs. However, with the increase in health care costs, company-sponsored voluntary testing and counseling programs have become more difficult to implement. 

The Effects of STDs on the Taxable Population

STDs, especially HIV, seriously hinder the taxable population, greatly lowering the available resources for public expenditures like healthcare or educational services. As the tax revenues fall, government incomes slowly decline as well, forcing them to spend more on STD treatments and prevention if they are to create an effective way to get out of the fiscal crisis. 

Each household has to spend more on healthcare services to manage STDs and lose income in the process. The income loss has led to reduced spending, which has taken the investments away from the funeral, healthcare, medication, and education spending. 

According to statistics, households who live with an HIV infected individual spend 50% more on medical expenses than any other non-infected household. Due to the increased costs in treatment, many results in working in the sex industry. The sex industry in the African region adds an additional income to a household. However, it leaves them vulnerable to becoming infected with STDs or transmit the infection onto a sexual partner. 

The Effects of STDs on Exports and Imports

Decreased domestic productivity has a major impact on exports and imports. Decreased life expectancy reduces the GDP in many African regions. From 1990 to 2025, the growth rate is expected to be between 0.56% to 1.47% lower. In 2000, these predictions did show the expected results and had decreased by 0.7% annually from 1990 to 1997. 

There is a massive decline in export income, but a significant increase in imports with expensive medications for STDs and other goods for the healthcare industry coming in at a much higher price. 

As a result, there is no balance between import expenditure and export earnings. This puts a strain on the government budget, resulting in debts by default. To control the debt, African governments rely on international help and economic assistance. 

Government’s Response to STDs in Africa

Multiple governments from the sub-Saharan African region have denied the problem for many years. Some have just recently decided to start addressing the issue. Due to conservative values and underfunding, the prevention of STDs has remained a serious problem in developing regions indirectly affecting the country’s supply chain.

In other words, the STD pandemic in Africa is more than just a medical issue; it’s a major problem for the continent’s economic growth and advancement. Therefore, more medical interventions are necessary to put these diseases under control. Learning about the economic environment in this region can help build sustainable STD programs for managing the conditions.  

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1122139/

https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001869

https://www.cmi.no/publications/786-socio-economic-effects-of-hiv-aids-in-african

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_impact_of_HIV/AIDS

http://www.policyproject.com/pubs/SEImpact/SEImpact_Africa.PDF

HIV in Ghana is on the rise

HIV information

Ghana has been struggling to reduce the number of HIV infections for years. In this region, there are around 150,000 people with HIV. In 2014, the HIV prevalence rate was recorded at 1.37%, with the lowest rates registered in the north region of Ghana, and the highest in the east.

To control this epidemic, the government appointed the Ghana AIDS Commission. This commission is in charge of handling the treatment, awareness, and education for HIV and AIDS-related health issues.

But, despite the increased awareness and access to HIV treatment, this disease in the Sub-Saharan African region is still one of the most common causes of death. Statistics from 2017 show that HIV was, in fact, responsible for 13,878 deaths.

The Rates of HIV Infections in Ghana Keep Increasing

There is a drastic increase in individuals infected with HIV, according to the Ghana AIDS Commission.

Based on the 2018 statistics, there were 19,931 newly recorded HIV infections, stated the commission in a most recent announcement in 2019, December 1. Their announcement was released to the community through media, mosques, and churches.

3,317 of the newly infected were young children between the ages of 0 and 14, while the rest of the 16,614 were adults.

The most common ways of transmission for the 334,717 already living with HIV, are through:

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Using various unsterilized sharp instruments.
  • mother-to-child transmission (MTCT)

Statistics from 2016 show the same results, the number of newly infected individuals from 2010 to 2016 increased by a staggering 21%. The most infected were those between the ages of 15 and 24, which are 45% of all the infected.

While Ghana has successfully managed to reduce other common STIs infections by 16%, HIV still remains a serious problem.

What Is Being Done to Control HIV in Ghana?

To ensure access to medicines for HIV treatment, the PEPFAR (The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) has issued $23.7 million for AIDS and HIV treatment in Ghana. With the help of additional programs, PEPFAR has implemented a load of viral testing to prevent and control the spread of the infection in this region.

The Network of Persons living with AIDS and HIV in Ghana have been urging the government to boost their District Assemblies Common Fund to provide more funding for HIV and AIDS treatment.

A conference was held in May 2018 to propose new measures for controlling the HIV disease. Some of the leading institutions that participated in the conference were the CDC – Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. HIV Research Program. At the conference, the government stated they would assess implications by 2020 in an effort to end AIDS and HIV by 2030.

HIV infections are still a pressing matter for Ghana

HIV infections are still a pressing matter for Ghana. This epidemic has forced the region to start working on implementing a series of programs and policies to stop the spread of the disease and better-manage the infection. More time is necessary, however, to see the full extent of these changes and whether they will have any positive results.

References

https://www.myjoyonline.com/lifestyle/2019/November-29th/hiv-infections-on-the-rise-19000-new-cases-recorded-in-2018-ghana-aids-commission.php

http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/images/news_release/2019/HIV%20Press%20Release%20-%20GHANA.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Ghana

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Government-raises-concern-as-HIV-infections-increase-by-21-650173

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527824/