Contributed by Guest Blogger: T. McKinnon ’14
In the mid-1980’s, businesspeople were crossing the Tanzania/Uganda border, and caught a disease. This disease spread through all of Tanzania after 2 years, and this is the birth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The question that was being asked in this research is how rampant HIV is in two differing economic classes, the “rich” and the “poor,” and in which is it more prevalent. The model created by studying the transmission of this disease through differing socio-economic classes is to see the impact HIV/AIDS has on one economic class versus another, and whether transmission is easier, harder, faster, etc. in different social classes.
The experiment conducted worked like this: a total population of individual is accounted for, divided into susceptibles, infectives (infectious), pre-AIDS and AIDS patients. These people are then divided into pre-AIDS hospitalized patients and AIDS patients seeking no hospitalization, because this is common in lower economic classes. From then, the spread and rate of infection of HIV and the spread of AIDS is measured among these separate groups, whether it is initial infection or development into full blown AIDS.
Through extensive experimentation, HIV/AIDS was found to be more prevalent among wealthier populations, but it spreads faster among the lower classes. I find it very interesting that this disease is not more prevalent and spreads faster in the lower classes. In the upper class, people can more readily afford the treatments and medications than people living in lower classes with less money.
The researchers acknowledged that this experiment was by no means exhaustive. I would like this experiment to expand to how race and sexuality interact with social class in the spread and prevalence of HIV/AIDS or if race has anything to do with it, both separately and together. I also would like to know how level of sexual activity among social class propagates HIV spread, and if the members of the upper class were more or less sexually active, or participated in more unsafe sexual practices than those of the lower class, or if it was the other way around.