AIDS Pandemic in the World
AIDS Pandemic in the World — excerpts from the ELCA Strategy on HIV and AIDS
Globally, the AIDS pandemic is a human crisis of unprecedented scope. As stated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), HIV has caused the “single greatest reversal in human development” in modern times. Each day,
more than 6,800 people became HIV-positive and more than 5,700 people die from AIDS. In countries hardest hit by HIV, life expectancy has declined by 20 years, poverty has deepened, and economic growth has been reversed. Consider the following statistics:
- 33.2 million people are living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
- 2.1 million people died from AIDS in 2007. 72 percent of these AIDS-related deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS is the leading cause of death.
- 2.7 million people became HIV-positive in 2007.
- 12 million children under the age of 18 in sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
The critical relationship between progress in addressing HIV and success in reducing poverty is increasingly documented and proven. The most effective progress in addressing HIV and AIDS is achieved when progress in all areas of development — including primary education, gender empowerment, and agriculture development — is achieved, and development is aided when progress is made in halting the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Especially in Africa, but also in other regions, there is a link between HIV and AIDS and poverty. Many of those living with HIV and AIDS reside in very poor communities, often in rural areas, which lack access to adequate nutrition, education, and health care. Those in resource-poor settings who have attained access to life-saving anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) require adequate nutrition to ensure the full efficacy of the medication. Without strong health-care systems, HIV-related incidence of death is intensified by other preventable and treatable “diseases of poverty,” including the most severely opportunistic
infections of malaria and tuberculosis.
A six-fold increase for HIV programs in low-to-middle income countries from 2001 to 2007 has resulted in fewer AIDS deaths and fewer new individuals diagnosed with HIV in some countries. The annual number of AIDS deaths has declined over the past two years — from 2.2 million in 2005 to two million in 2007 — thanks in large part to the advent of life-saving medicine, even in the most resource-poor settings. And, the global HIV prevalence — the percentage of individuals diagnosed with HIV — has stabilized, thanks to a number of factors including radical changes in sexual behavior in some of the hardest hit countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda.
Prevention, treatment, and care programs are making progress in the struggle to stop the spread of AIDS and save lives, but millions affected by HIV and AIDS still lack access to such programs. You can help to strengthen and expand these ministries. Donate today.
Learn More: The AIDS Pandemic in the U.S.