Independent On-line, 26 November 2002, Facts and figures about HIV and Aids
Following are key facts and figures about the disease that has already claimed 24 million lives.
(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was first reported in 1981 among
homosexual men in the
According to the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAids), at the end of 2002, 42 million adults and children worldwide will be living with HIV/Aids. About five million people have been infected in 2002.
Women comprise 50 percent of the global epidemic. In some African countries the number is as high as 58 percent.
Nearly 30 million people are living with the disease in sub-Saharan Africa, six million in South/South-east Asia, 1,5 million in Latin America, 550 000 in the Middle East and North Africa, 1,2 million in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and 1,5 million people in high income countries.
Africa is most highly affected,
The number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS is about 14 million.
South Africa has more people living with HIV and Aids than any other single country. In four southern African countries, the national HIV prevalence rate has risen higher than experts had thought possible- 38,8 percent in Botswana, 31 percent in Lesotho, 33,4 percent in Swaziland and 33,7 percent in Botswana.
Aids is a syndrome, a combination of illnesses. The HIV virus attacks the immune system and leaves the body vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening diseases, so-called opportunistic infections, such as tuberculosis.
HI virus is found in semen, blood, breast milk and other body fluids. It
reproduces inside CD4 blood cells, which normally protect the body against
It is transmitted through sexual contact, blood transfusions and needle-sharing and from pregnant women to the foetus and through an infected mother nursing her baby.
is no known cure but drugs that suppress the replication of the HIV
infection have prolonged the lives of sufferers in countries that can afford
Scientists are also trying to develop a vaccine. An effective, affordable vaccine against HIV is considered the best hope of bringing the global epidemic under control.
is detected through a blood test for the antibodies against the virus. There
are two predominant types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Worldwide, the
predominant virus is HIV-1. There are also subtypes of the HI virus.