Discovery Guides Areas


Scourge of a Continent:
The Devastation of AIDS, HIV Prevention Policies,
and the Relief Effort in Sub-Saharan Africa

(Released February 2006)

  by Matthew Ruben  


Key Citations

Web Sites




AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome): A collection of symptoms and infections resulting from the depletion of the immune system caused by infection with HIV.

ARV (antiretroviral): Treatment and medication for infection by retroviruses—tumor-producing viruses that contain RNA and reverse transcriptase—primarily HIV. Different antiretroviral drugs act at various stages of the HIV life cycle.

Epidemic: An outbreak of a contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely.

Globalization: A term used to describe growing interdependence of people around the world with regard to societal influence, economies, and cultural exchanges.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus): The virus that causes AIDS. It is transmitted through direct contact of a mucus membrane with a bodily fluid such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid or breast milk.

Latency: A latency period of a disease is the delay between exposure to a disease-causing agent (the HIV virus in this case) and manifestation of the disease.

NGO (nongovernmental organization): An organization which is independent from the government, usually a non-profit group with social and cultural commitments.

Palliative: Treatment to alleviate symptoms without curing the disease.

Pandemic: Epidemic over a wide geographic area and affecting a large proportion of the population.

Prevalence: The total number of cases of a disease in a given population at a specific time.

UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS): The main international advocate for coordinated global action on the HIV epidemic. Its mission includes preventing transmission of HIV, providing care and support for those already living with HIV, and reducing the epidemic's impact on communities.