Richmond Times-Dispatch Examines HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Zambia in Three-Day Series
The Richmond Times-Dispatch examined the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia in a three-day series that concluded yesterday. The series -- which was written by Times-Dispatch reporter Frank Green and photographed by freelance photographer Joseph Rodriguez, both of whom are Dart Center fellows -- explored the epidemic's social and economic consequences, the lives of AIDS orphans, prevention campaigns and HIV/AIDS in prisons, among other issues. The series was funded by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at the University of Washington in Seattle. The Dart Center, a worldwide network of journalists, journalism educators and health professionals, aims to improve media coverage of "trauma, conflict and tragedy," according to the Times-Dispatch (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/31). The following are short summaries of the stories, organized by date of publication.
Sunday, Aug. 31
- "AIDS Strikes Hardest in Sub-Saharan Africa": The HIV/AIDS epidemic is most severe in sub-Saharan Africa, where 29.4 million people live with the disease, according to the Times-Dispatch. The AIDS charity AVERT warns that without "massive expanded prevention, treatment and care efforts," the death toll will increase throughout the decade and will have social and economic consequences as well as effects on education, industry, agriculture, transport and human resources (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/31).
- "Lord, Cleanse Us": Resource-poor countries such as Zambia suffer most from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Antiretroviral drugs are often too expensive for most Zambians, and the people who can afford them often have to choose between the drugs and an adequate diet. Although prevention efforts have reduced the number of new HIV infections over recent years in highly affected urban areas, "HIV continues to spread" in the country, according to the Times-Dispatch (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/31).
Monday, Sept. 1
- "Families Reject Children": Nearly one in five Zambian children has lost one or both parents, often due to AIDS-related death. Many HIV-positive children are abandoned by family and friends because of the stigma that the disease carries in Zambia (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/1).
- "Lives Lost, Orphans Left": Zambia currently has between 600,000 and 700,000 orphaned children under age 15, and the number is expected to reach one million by 2010 and could continue to grow until 2020. The "long-term social, criminal justice and economic implications of the [orphan] phenomenon" cannot be foreseen, according to the Times-Dispatch (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/1).
- "Magic: An Odyssey in Africa Leads From Darkness Into Light": Africa is a "place of hope where one might expect only despair generated by widespread poverty and the menace of AIDS" and a "place that can go from wonderful to wretched and back again in the space of a few minutes," Green writes in an opinion piece. Although the people in Africa range from inspirational to reprehensible, "[m]ost are very poor," according to Green. Zambia's average per capita annual income is less than $400 (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/1).
Tuesday, Sept. 2
- "Funds From U.S. Could Ease Crisis": President Bush's five-year, $15 billion global AIDS initiative "will not be a cure-all but could put a significant dent in the epidemics" in Africa and the Caribbean, according to the Times-Dispatch. The plan aims to prevent seven million new HIV infections, treat two million people with antiretroviral drugs, provide hospital care and lend support to AIDS orphans (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/2).
- "Education, Prevention Top Priorities": Prisons have been neglected by efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in Zambia, the Times-Dispatch reports. According to Ochas Pupwe, prisons are "always last on the list of consideration given by the public and charities" for allocating prevention funding. Programs such as "In But Free," operated at the Kamfinsa Prison, help educate inmates on how to prevent HIV transmission (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/2).
- "AIDS Behind Bars": HIV-positive Zambian prison inmates face many challenges beyond living with HIV/AIDS, including a poor diet, lack of antiretroviral drugs and overcrowding that can spread other diseases such as tuberculosis. Pupwe and others encourage prisoners to learn their HIV status so that they can adjust their behavior to limit the disease's spread (Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/2).