The epidemic is one of the barriers in the overall development of the country, as it results in a seven-year reduction in life expectancy and has significantly reduced the workforce. Almost 1.2 million Ethiopians are reported to suffer from HIV/AIDS. The prevalence rate for adults is around 2.5 percent while the incidence rate is roughly at 0.29 percent.
The two rates differ significantly between gender and geographical locations. For instance, the reported prevalence rate in urban areas is around 7.7 percent while the prevalence rate in rural areas is roughly 0.9 percent. In terms of gender, the rate of prevalence is 1.7 and 2.6 percent for males and females, respectively.
In Ethiopia, HIV is typically spread through heterosexual contact. Females, especially those who are still at a young age, have higher chances of getting infected than men. Urban females are thrice more likely to suffer from the infection than urban men. Among those who are at a higher risk of contracting the infection are police officers, military members, and sex workers.
Poverty is a huge factor in spreading the HIV infection and in having it develop into AIDS and result in death. Poor people who are infected with the disease are more prone to malnourishment and suffering from various ailments. They also have poor access to medications and healthcare services.
Sexual transactions or sex work driven by poverty also contribute to the spread of HIV. This type of work actually encourages the high rate of unprotected sex. While those who engage in this type of work are just trying to survive and implementing a strategy that will help them do so, they are very exposed to infection and infect others as they try to earn income for themselves and their families.
One way to solve this major challenge affecting millions of Ethiopians is to spread education about HIV/AIDS, as well as the major factors that contribute to its spread. Understanding factors like poverty, income inequalities, gender inequalities, and migrant labour is crucial to fully understanding the infection and how it affects households and the society. Helping the country improve healthcare is also critical.