HIV/Malaria Co-infection in Africa

The article "High prevalence of HIV and malaria co-infection in urban Douala, Cameroon," is an opus of multiple authors: NkuonAkenJI, Tevoufouet, Nzang, Ngufor and Fon, in the African Journal of AIDS Research 2008, volume 7, issue 2.

I am a college student pursuing medicine with a great interest in curbing tropical diseases especially in the continent of Africa. When I am through my studies, I want to venture into research work in Africa to be useful in adding more insight in curbing of the spread of HIV and Malaria. NkuonAkenJ, eT al., (2008) have noted that Africa is overwhelmed by tropical diseases with huge numbers of people dying of HIV and Malaria. Morbidity and mortality rates emanating from the two health challenges are on the increase. For example, INS and ORC Macro (2004) released a report that showed that in Cameroon, 35 to 50% of all deaths in hospitals result from Falciparum malaria. From a survey conducted by the organization, it was observed that in areas affected by this malaria, there is a 5.5% prevalence of HIV.

Several studies have demonstrated that malaria infection up-regulates HIV developmental cycle as it enhances T-cells activity, and consequently augment of plasma viral load. Such triggers acceleration of viruses' replication, consequently leading to deterioration of the health of the patient. The rapid growth of AIDS in Africa is greatly contributed by Malaria. Poverty engulfing the continent makes it very hard or even impossible for health centers to acquire appropriate tools for thorough blood screening, consequently leading to transfusion of HIV-infected blood.

NkuonAkenJ, et al. (2008) argued that control of malaria, especially for co-infected persons, can reduce the rate of virus replication on the victims. NkuonAkenJ and his colleagues conducted a research that endeavored at determining HIV/Malaria co-infection prevalence. The study was also geared at comparing the prevalence of some hematological, parasitological and clinical factors between mono-infection and co-infection. The authors have posited that unless the continent of Africa is helped to overcome tropical diseases like malaria, the mortality rate will continue to increase rapidly, wiping both the young and the adults. They have noted with little research over the correlation between tropical diseases and HIV, Africa inevitably continues experiencing priority misplacement and hence year by year increase in HIV/AIDS death rates. The authors observed the lack of information as the greatest peril to the increased HIV/malaria co-infection calling upon researchers to give more attention to these relationships.

This article is very important to providing me with more insight on the reality in the continent of my interest. The authors conducted a research on my two areas of interest in Cameroon consequently helping me to see the intensity of the problem, propelling me to think more critically how I can be of help. With this information, I am more convinced that the need in Africa should be embraced by all health practitioners who value human life. Cameroon is just one of the countries in dire need for more research on HIV/malaria co-infection; there is a need for more professionals to venture into health issues of Africa. The study by NkuonAkenJ, et al. (2008) provided just a background for future elaborate studies on HIV/malaria co-infection in Cameroon and other African countries.

This information is best known by health researchers in Africa and the western nations to realize the information gap and respond appropriately. The victims (Africans) will also need this information to take the appropriate measures in protecting themselves from such diseases as Malaria. The African governments should put the information in the public arena and interpret it in a language that they can understand so that they can take the appropriate measures. The victims have a responsibility of optimizing safety to avoid HIV/Malaria co-infection as the death rates of co-infections are so pronounced.

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