SOCIOECONOMIC JUSTICE IS NEEDED TO GIVE MEANING TO THE LIVES OF YOUTH LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS IN AFRICA.
For about thirty years now, the international community has worked so hard to medically save lives of people afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Africa, however a new problem has arisen: Children born with HIV/AIDS - whose lives have been saved and are guaranteed by antiretroviral medications - are now adults with a fresh set of socioeconomic challenges threatening their own survival. Thankful to be alive they are at once stigmatized and without hope. With their bodies scarred over a lengthy battle with the disease most youth living with HIV/AIDS (YLWA) are distinguishable and easily identifiable. Employers do not want to take them on (because it is thought they will elicit workplace curiosity and possibly miss many work hours through secondary sickness) and they have no friends/lovers (for their illnesses could be contagious) as their communities treat them disdainfully. YLWA are stigmatized and ostracized, poor, and dejected; they have no hope for happiness.
Whereas in the developed countries of the world sociopsychoeconomic needs of YLWA are variously addressed, this is not so in the developing countries.
The hope for these YLWA in poor countries of the world is economic empowerment: Economic progress and success will garner them social acceptability and recognition within their communities. Economic empowerment will bring YLWA happiness. At Community Concepts Inc, we aim to redeem YLWA. We believe and want to prove that living with AIDS/HIV is neither a handicap nor a life sentence. We also wish to change social perception in poor countries by debunking discrimination of YLWA as misconceived and ignorant. Our mission in this respect is part of our overall pursuit for socioeconomic justice for discriminated youths in poor countries of the world.
Without socioeconomic justice for YLWA, medical intervention would not have achieved a desired end. People that have chronic illnesses need medication to be able to live fulfilling lives; they need medication to live happy lives devoid of pain and stress. But to medically extend one???s life, only for it to be a life of misery is a negation of the hope of science. In Africa, where the lives of youths living with HIV/AIDS have been medically prolonged, these extended lives are largely miserable. Socioeconomic justice is needed to give meaning to the lives of youth living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
One way these lives could be empowered is if a large beverage company like Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola employed these youths as their salesmen. The drinks sold by these two companies are more ubiquitous than a pair of shoes in Africa. These youths could be trained and capitalized to form a chain of salesmen in the African countries, where they exist. This measure would go a long way in empowering YLWA across the continent. In 2014 Coca Cola???s total global revenue was 40,420 million dollars; the African region comprised a respectable 7% of these sales.
Additionally, in countries where YLWA abound, there is need for a system of group homes, which could be used as centers of solace that offer decent living; complete with water, sanitation, and assured hygiene. These homes will, additionally, ensure provision of necessary nutrition and adherence/unencumbered medication. These homes will also facilitate skills training programs: Training programs meant to equip YLWA with special skills that would boost their employability and hence economic empowerment. These homes would eventually serve as stabilization centers where enabled YLWA would proceed to independent living.
There are several measures that could be instituted to help alleviate the misery of YLWA.
Community Concepts Inc in Boston is the first international nonprofit to champion the plight of YLWA in Africa and other poor countries of the world.