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Mapping the global HIVAids epidemic

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Mapping the global HIVAids epidemic Powered By Docstoc
					Mapping the global HIV/Aids epidemic
by Karien Slabbert
The year 2006 marked the 25year anniversary of the discovery of the HIV/Aids virus. Since then, some 25 million people have died of Aids and Aids-related diseases. Approximately 40 million people around the world are currently living with the immune systemdestroying virus. Ninety-five percent of HIV-infected people live in developing countries. Africa continues to have the highest prevalence rate of HIV infections. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to just over 10% of the world’s population. Startling statistics indicate that 70% of its inhabitants live with HIV. Some 24,7 million people – almost two thirds of all HIV-infected individuals – live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UNAids/World Health Organisation Aids Epidemic Update for 2006. In 2006 an estimated 2,8 million adults and children became newlyinfected with HIV in the region. The 2,1 million Aids deaths in subSaharan Africa, represent 72% of global Aids deaths. This is more than in all other regions of the world combined! According to the report, 57% of HIV-infected people in sub-Saharan Africa were women. Young African women aged 15-24, are now three times more likely to become infected than their male peers. South Africa is among the countries with the highest rate of adult HIV prevalence in the world. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids, 18,8% of 15 to 49-year-olds have contracted the virus. The latest HIV estimates in-

dicate that 5,5 million South Africans (or one in every nine) are living with HIV/Aids. The disease is killing 800 South Africans daily and has left more than a million children orphaned. According to James Morris, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special envoy for humanitarian needs in southern Africa, more than 3,3 million children in southern Africa are already orphaned by HIV/Aids.

The disease is killing 800 South Africans daily and has left more than a million children orphaned

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The region has nine of the ten highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates in the world. This, combined with the more than 3,3 million Aids orphans, is straining government budgets for health care and social services, food security, education, communities and extended families. Declining life expectancy is one of the most visible effects

of HIV/Aids in many nations and has reversed human development across a large part of southern Africa, according to the report. The immune system-destroying disease is now considered the leading cause of death and lost years of productive life for adults aged between 15-49 years, worldwide. In sub-Saharan Africa, life expectancy today is lower than it was three decades ago. Several countries in Southern Africa have suffered catastrophic reversals. The annual Human Development Report 2006, noted that most people in Southern African countries with relatively stable economies, are not expected to reach the age of 50. The situation is even more worrying in Zimbabwe, where the economy is shrinking rapidly.

Source: United Nation Integrated Regional Information Networks. Human Development Report 2006. http://hdr.undp. org/hdr2006/report.cfm NF

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FEBRUARY ISSUE | 2007


				
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