Hiv/Aids in South Korea Essay

in South Korea Fall 2011 H312 AIDS and STIS in Modern Society AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), is a world pandemic disease that has plagued countries around the world since 1981. HIV/AIDS affects both men and women of all ages. AIDS is a deadly disease that deteriorates the immune system. You don’t have to be sexually active to get AIDS some people are even born with it. It has an impact on many people’s lives either by themselves being infected, knowing someone who is infected, or being a health care worker.

The most shocking aspect of this disease is how rapidly it has spread. As of 2002 the population of those with HIV/AIDS was over 40 million world-wide. The focus of this paper is on aids in South Korea which is located in the Eastern Asia in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering the Sea of Japan and the yellow sea. The capital of South Korea is Seoul. South Korea has a population of 48,875,000 people. The nation of South Korea is organized as a republic. The country is split into nine separate provinces and seven different metropolitan cities.

The two major religions in South Korea are Christianity and Buddhism. The economic climate in South Korea is market driven and very stable. The number of people living below the poverty line is 15% with a 3. 7% unemployment rate. The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in adults is less than . 1% with the amount of 9,500 people living with it and fewer than 500 people dying of HIV/AIDS. According to Kim et. al. ,(2003) the first reported case of HIV/AIDS in 1985, since then it has steadily grown to 1280 over the period of 15 years. HIV/AIDS is treated differently in South Korea than other countries.

The most common route of HIV/AIDS transmission in South Korea is through heterosexual contact and with homosexual contact being the second most common. In other countries, such as Germany, the most common route of HIV/AIDS transmission is through Homosexual and IV contact. However, compared to the rest of the world even Asian countries South Korea has had a very limited exposure to AIDS/HIV. (See figure 1). The routes of the way HIV/AIDS has been transmitted in South Korea and percentage is heterosexual 92 (52. 3%), homosexual 42(23. %), transfusion and blood products 4 (2. 3%), IV drug use 2(1. 1%), undetermined 36 (20. 5%) . In demographic of South Korea we can see that males 156 (88. 6%) are most likely to get HIV than woman’s 20 (11. 4%) the ratio of m: f is 7. 8:1. (Kim et. al. , 2003,p. 365). Homosexuality is not culturally accepted in South Korea, so the number of those who claim to have gotten HIV/AIDS through heterosexual can over estimated. According to( Choe, 1999) the major modes of transmission were sexual contacts, accounting for 86% of the cases (65% heterosexuals and 21% homosexuals).

Transmission through blood and blood products accounted for 28 cases (3. 2%), and vertical transmission for one case. Another way to measure the number of people that are HIV positive is through blood donations, since 1975 they have been recording the number of HIV positive donations there data states 1 out of 100,000 tested HIV positive in blood donation. However, this data can be overestimated if people donated blood more than once. Overall the data has stayed consistent with about 1 per every 100,000 people testing positive for HIV/AIDS.

Since the late 80’s and early 90’s the South Korean government has recognized that the young people need good sexual education and has passed several laws to protect young people from this disease. Over the past 20 years the South Korean government has been actively trying to prevent bad habits from contributing to increased HIV/AIDS population. It’s even gone as far as to set up a commission youth protection to coordinate youth related problems such as prostitution, pornography exposure. The KAAF’S Purity Movement (Korean Anti-AIDS Federation) is NGO’S project to fight against HIV/AIDS.

The objective of the KAAF’S is to effectively implement publicity, survey and research, and international exchanges for the fundamental prevention of AIDS that is threatening that human survival, and to enhance the health welfare and the enhancement of sense of morality of Korean nationals. It is not only the first but also the largest anti-AIDS NGO in Korea in terms of budget and membership. At first they thought HIV/AIDS came from sexual deviants such as prostitution and homosexuals, so young people were not linked to HIV/AIDS until pregnancy, prostitution and sexual violence became issues with Korean youths in the mid-1900s. Cheng, 2005) Their view on HIV/AIDS is that it’s a disease highlights all of the corruption and bad morals the western world has. The Purity Movement views HIV/AIDS as a problem that came from the outside world and they advertise ways to fix it by increasing awareness of how AIDS is transmitted. They are given the young people of Korea that it’s if you stay in Korea the problem will be much more easily resolved. Kwoen Khan-woo is the founder and director-general of the KAAF’S. He views all sexual education such as condoms and contraception were products of western sexual education and was not effective.

It promotes sexual practices that are culturally not accepted in South Korea. Female’s sexuality in South Korea is consistently being targeted at as the cause and solution to HIV/AIDS. The way I anticipate HIV/AIDS in South Korea in the short term the only way to solve the HIV/AIDS problem is to increase general knowledge HIV/AIDS and awareness because in South Korea there is . 01% are HIV positive compared to other countries where there is a greater portion of their population infected.

The long term solution to prevent HIV/AIDS is they have to change the general attitude of the young attitude and requires continuous messaging, generally keep updating the information. (Yoo,2005) It is easily preventable is very easily contained and very few of them have it and they have data proving that it mostly through heterosexual contact and less than half of the heterosexual are homosexual. And in the same article by Kim (2003) they found that most heterosexual people who were HIV positive got it from overseas and having sex with foreigners.

The South Koreans tend to view that HIV/AIDS as a foreign problem that came to their country and that it has “invaded” their homes and is affecting their lively hood. To quote (Cheng ,2005,p. 14): The desire to locate the origin of a disease is the desire to be assured that we are not at fault, that we have been invaded from without, polluted by some external agent (Gilman, 1988) That is to say that Koreans see it as an external threat and they are not the ones that started this problem in their country. But that they will solve it.

When Korea hosted the 2002 World Cup, the KAAF, with the backing of the South Korean Government, launched a large scale campaign to limit the damaging effects of such a large influx of people to their country could inflict. By doing so, the South Korean government was balancing it’s need to maintain the country’s appearance to the rest of the world and the need to protect its people. In class we learned about the prevention approaches with limited resources in South Korea to help prevent being infected with HIV/AIDS.

The promotion of condom usage, peer-based programs the Korean Anti-AIDS Federation is a good program for that (Cheng 2005). The KAAF is still holding seminars to educate young people about HIV/AIDS and hands out purity cards to symbolize their commitment to abstinence. Kwoen has led these seminars with chants like( Cheng, 2005,p. 12) “Ah, let’s think carefully now again about sex (seong) and love (sarhang) and purity (sunkyol) and ‘sex’ (sekseu) From now On, we have to realize that sexual relations is a matter of life and death. (Cheng ,2005) South Korea is one of the many countries affected by HIV/AIDS pandemic. HIV/AIDS doesn’t discriminate young or old female/male or even age, different religions, different sexual orientation AIDS can affect all. Although there are 48,875,000 million people in South Korea only . 01% have tested HIV positive. In South Korea the general trend of the way it’s transmitted is different than other countries. Heterosexual contact is the main route of transmission. Other countries can attribute this disease spreading through homosexual contact or through IV contact.

The country is also luck to have a NGO like the KAAF. They spend all their efforts in ensuring that the younger populations of South Koreans are aware of HIV/AIDS and that it’s easily preventable. This group organizes seminars in schools, works with the South Korean government to prevent it spreading and actively fighting against it. I hope that South Korea is successful in endeavors to prevent HIV/AIDS from happening in its country. I hope the spectrum of prevention is used more in South Korea.