Marseille 2007
Marseille 2007
Abstract book
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Abstract #48  -  The HIV/AIDS Socio-Economic Paradox: The Negative Impact on Older Carers
  12.3: Ageing and Changeing (Parallel) on Monday @ 11.00-12.30 in PR Chaired by Gerald Gorn, Lorraine Sherr
  Presenting Author:   Mr Frederick Lawrence Okello - Elderly Home Care Tanzania, Tanzania, United Republic Of
  Additional Authors:   
To study the level of awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention and management and poverty levels among older people among the rural and urban communities of Tanzania
Method / Issue:
Project Description I conducted a study for Elderly Home Care, and NGO in Tanzania. The sampled areas included Arusha, Manyara and Kilimanjaro Regions (Provinces). The main objective of the study was to identify older people (aged 65 years and above) providing care to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWAs) including HIV/AIDS orphans. Data on their levels of awareness in HIV/AIDS prevention and management, as well as knowledge of home based care was collected. The survey covered eight districts in the three regions. Sexual behavior patterns, poverty levels and the number of sexual partners for each elderly man in the sampled household were studied.
Results / Comments:
Sexual Behavior Patterns: In Namanga, Monduli and Longido Districts in Arusha Region, the study revealed that over 36 percent ignorance of HIV/AIDS, especially among the rural Masai. Amorous behavior among the older Masai men contributed to high HIV infection rates that are commonplace in the area. Older Masai men are now a highly vulnerable group. Two cases were identified among older women cares in which the cause of infection was because of caring for their sick grand children (probably from body sores or using the shaving blades as the sick children). Poverty: Older people aged 65 years and above constitute just over 5 per cent of Tanzanias population of 34 Million people (according to Population Census of 2000), over 65 per cent live below the poverty line. Whereas older people are not targeted in HIV/AIDS campaigns and allied assistance programmes, this vulnerable group cares for about 31 per cent of the HIV/AIDS orphans in the regions studied.
Awareness: Most HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives do not target older persons. They are assumed to be above the sexually active age bracket. Total lack of education, information and knowledge on HIV/AIDS renders older people more vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS infection because of caring for infected orphans or through sexual contact with young brides or newly inherited wives. Some culturally acceptable practices like polygamy and siring children for an infertile brother or cousin are commonplace in Eastern Africa. Older men marry younger brides in their old age as a socially acceptable method of enhancing life expectancy among the local communities. These practices increase the incidence of new infections owing to the ignorance levels among older people. They neither know nor understand the use of condoms or other conventional preventive measures. Socio-economic Impact: In recent times, the impact of extreme economic hardships, urbanization, globalization and growth of diseases such as HIV/AIDS has damaged the social fabric and resulted in a rapid increase in the numbers of marginalized groups including the older people, as well as the orphans that they support. The caring role of the older people leaves them with no time to engage in income generating activities. Precariously without any source of livelihood, older people find it difficult to feed themselves and their dependants.
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