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HIV/AIDS stigma in Tanzania Essay

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2019

The cases of HIV/AIDS were first reported in all regions within Tanzania by the year 1986. The number of people infected has increased over the years to over one million with so many unreported cases. It is estimated that only two out of ten cases are reported, the reports estimate that it takes an individual over five years to reveal the AIDS related diseases before facing death. Statistics from the ministry of health shows that by 2004 the rate of women infection is at 7.7% while that of men stands at 6.3% (WHO, 2005).

The increase in number of AIDS patient in Tanzania has led to over-crowding within hospitals. So much medical services is required to cater for the increasing population of those infected, this has led to increased public spending on treatment. The education sector is also affected due to the rise in the number of orphans who at times are forced to drop out of school owing to lack of parental care.

The rural communities are currently experiencing the effect of the disease. This is because the disease has deprived the community of the most productive age group, that’s between age 15 and 45. The force of skilled labour within the communities and industries is undergoing great threat since majority of the people die from AIDS (Kates and Wilson, 2005, pp 1-2).

The life expectancy in Tanzania has been lowered to below fifty years due to AIDS infection. The mean age of the working population has been predicted to decline tremendously by the year 2015. The education standards are expected to decline since so much money will be diverted to cater for issues dealing with AIDS epidemic.

Lots of resources will be required from the government and affected communities to cater for the needs and wants of the orphaned population. Commitment towards leading preventive initiatives is required from all government sectors and civil society (United Nations Systems in Tanzania, 2007).

Basic numbers of people infected with HIV AIDS

According to statistics released in 2005, United Republic of Tanzania had approximately 1.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS. However, the prevalence rate of is lower in Tanzania compared to other countries in the sub-Saharan Africa (UNAIDS, 2008). The country is considered a low income country hence the infiltration by the disease is considered to lower the level of productivity.

The statistics reveal that women are the majority infected, their number accounting for more than half of the adults diagnosed with HIV/AIDS infection. The number of young women infected is also more than half of all the young men living with HIV/AIDS. The prevalence of the disease is so high within the urban centres as compared to rural areas (Mhalu, Bredberg-Raden and Mbena, 1987).

The number of children orphaned with HIV/AIDS increased to over 600,000 by the year 2000. According to Word bank reports the mean working age will also decline to below 30 years of age.

Stigma associated with HIV/AIDS has led to a number of individuals losing their jobs, however the government of Tanzania issued some blue cards to PLWHA that enables them to obtain ARV drugs free of charge from the government. However many still shy away from being tested due to the strong stigmatization attached to HIV patients (UNICEF, 2006).

Action programs

The effects of HIV/AIDS calls for series of actions that includes; preventive measures, caring for the sick, looking after the orphaned families, implementation of programs and policies that caters for socio-economic development within the affected areas. This saw the involvement of community based organizations and various government branches. These groups are used to increase the support to affected families and spearhead awareness and preventive campaigns.

The support accorded to the affected communities and families can be realised through financial decentralization. This increases the chances of people’s participation in bringing accepted solutions. It makes it easier also to offer support to small different organizations at different administrative levels.

For example llala municipality has been structured to support small committees to act as sources of rapid responses to HIV and AIDS infections; the municipality has been divided into different wards, sub-wards and nine villages including thirty seven hamlets (United Nations Systems in Tanzania, 2007).

Annual workshops have been organized to increase the level of participation of all individuals. All the NGOs involved in tackling HIV/AIDS receive financial support from the government. They help in establishment of home based care to individuals infected with the disease.

There are also programs that are focused towards training nurses on appropriate treatment and management of HIV/AIDS, and also educating the people on consequent results of some practices that increase chances of HIV infection within communities (World Bank, 2005).

The UN report agreed that there is need for communication strategies to be changed in order to address specific target groups. All the messages concerning HIV/AIDS should focus on how to affect people’s behaviour from different perspectives. The contribution of culture towards increase or decrease of HIV infection should be critically addressed. The change in attitude and increase in knowledge concerning HIV/AIDS helps individuals to decide wisely concerning some crooked behaviours that might increase their risks of contracting HIV.


Kates, J. & Wilson A., 2005. HIV/AIDS policy fact sheet. Available at

Mhalu, F., Bredberg-Raden, U. & Mbena, E., 1987. Prevalence of HIV Infection in Healthy Subjects and Groups of Patients in Tanzania. AIDS, 4(1), pp. 217-221.

UNAIDS. 2008. Report on the global AIDS epidemic. Geneva: UN AIDS.

UNICEF. 2006. Africa’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Generations: Children Affected by AIDS. Geneva

United Nations Systems in Tanzania. 2007. Annual joint UN work plan on HIV and AIDS for Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar Islands. UN, Geneva

WHO.2005.Tanzania: Summary Country Profile for HIV/AIDS Treatment Scale-Up. June 2005

World Bank. 2005. Country Classification: Country Groups. Available at

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IvyPanda. 2019. "HIV/AIDS stigma in Tanzania." April 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/hiv-aids-stigma-in-tanzania/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'HIV/AIDS stigma in Tanzania'. 30 April.

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