Understanding HIV/AIDS
Educating and Raising HIV Awareness About This Epidemic

The latest statistics on the world epidemic of AIDS & HIV were published by
UNAIDS/WHO in July 2008, and refer to the end of 2007.

Estimate Range
People living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 33.0 million 30.3-36.1 million
Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 30.8 million 28.2-34.0 million
Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 15.5 million 14.2-16.9 million
Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 2.0 million 1.9-2.3 million
People newly infected with HIV in 2007 2.7 million 2.2-3.2 million
Children newly infected with HIV in 2007 0.37 million 0.33-0.41 million
AIDS deaths in 2007 2.0 million 1.8-2.3 million
Child AIDS deaths in 2007 0.27 million 0.25-0.29 million

More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981.

Africa has 11.6 million AIDS orphans.

At the end of 2007, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide, and for 59% in sub-Saharan Africa.

Young people (under 25 years old) account for half of all new HIV infections worldwide.

In developing and transitional countries, 9.7 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 2.99 million (31%) are receiving the drugs.

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How can we help stop the Spread of AIDS?

“We’re dealing with a kind of contemporary apocalypse.”

THOSE words of Stephen Lewis, UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, echo the concern of many about the AIDS situation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Five million people were infected with the AIDS virus in 2003, “the largest number in any single year since the epidemic began two decades ago,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Despite a huge global push to fight HIV in developing countries, the AIDS virus continues to infect a growing number of people and claim millions of lives each year.” According to data published by UNAIDS, an AIDS program sponsored by the United Nations and other groups, about 3 million people die from AIDS each year and more than 20 million have died since the first diagnosis of the disease in 1981. Currently, the UN agency estimates that 38 million people are infected with HIV. Sub-Saharan Africa, with 25 million cases, is the hardest-hit region, followed by South and Southeast Asia with 6.5 million infected. World-wide, nearly half of all new HIV cases are young people aged 15 to 24.

Promiscuous Sex

In this age of AIDS, promiscuous sex is unquestionably dangerous. Yet, many youths seem to view sex as little more than a harmless game. Some American youths, for example, blithely speak of “hooking up”—a harmless-sounding euphemism for casual sex. They talk about having “a friend with benefits”—a sexual partner who makes no emotional demands.

It is a know fact that childern are having orgylike parties, some suburban youths throw while their parents are at work. At one such party, a young girl announced that “she was going to have sex with all the boys there. Children as young as 12 were involved in the parties.

Particularly distressing was a report in the newspaper USA Today: “Increasing numbers of the country’s youngest teens . . . are having oral sex. . . . Kids have convinced themselves that ‘this is not really sex.’” According to one survey of 10,000 girls, “eighty percent said they are virgins, but 25% had had oral sex. And 27% described that act as ‘something you do with a guy for fun.’”

Such views on sex have made inroads elsewhere. “Asia’s youth are becoming increasingly susceptible to HIV through heterosexual relationships with many becoming sexually active at a younger age,” reports UNESCO, adding: “Teenagers are increasingly shirking their parents’ ‘Asian values’ by having premarital sex, often with multiple partners.”

Without a doubt, today’s generation of youths is a deeply troubled one.

Rape has been described as a national emergency in South Africa. A news report in the Citizen newspaper of Johannesburg stated that it “is so rampant that it overtakes every other health risk posed to this country’s women and, increasingly, to its children as well.” The same article noted: “The rape of children has doubled in recent times . . . These acts are committed seemingly in perpetuation in Africa because of the myth that an HIV carrier who rapes a virgin will be cured.”

Sexually transmitted disease (STD). There is a high rate of STDs in the region. The South African Medical Journal noted: “The presence of an STD increases the risk of HIV-1 infection 2- to 5-fold.”

It is evident that in some countries efforts are being made to deal with the disease. And for the first time, in June 2001 the United Nations General Assembly held a special conference to discuss HIV/AIDS. Will human efforts bring success? When will the deadly march of AIDS finally be halted?

The Battle Against AIDS - Protect Yourself Against Aids

HIV testing before considering marriage is a wise choice....

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