33 million people in the world have HIV, 22 million live in Africa. 67% of people with HIV live in Africa yet the continent is home to just 10% of the world’s population. The disease is the leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa with approximately 3,800 people dying every day from AIDS. It costs around 40 cents a day for the 2 antiretroviral pills needed to help keep someone living with HIV alive and healthy. Yet more than 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $2 a day.
Today, December 1 is World AIDS Day. What this means is that it is a day designated to those who are living and dying with HIV/AIDS. It is a day that asks the world to stop and do, stop and pray, stop and remember those who are suffering with this incurable, yet completely preventable disease. Here is some information about HIV taken from World AIDS day and Join (RED)
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system – the body’s defence against diseases. HIV can be passed on through infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk. The most common ways HIV is passed on are:
- Sex without a condom with someone living with HIV
- Sharing infected needles, syringes or other injecting drug equipment
- From an HIV-positive mother (to her child) during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding (but with effective treatment and care the risk of transmission can be greatly reduced)
There is no cure for HIV but treatment can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. People on HIV treatment can live a healthy, active life, although they may experience side effects from the treatment. If HIV is diagnosed late, treatment may be less effective.
Is HIV still a growing problem? The answer is in the numbers below.
- 33.4 million people living with HIV worldwide
- 31.3 million adults
- 15.7 million women
- 2.1 million children under 15
Take some time today and look around the World AIDS day site and the Join (RED) site. There are plenty of ways to get involved in this issue. Most of us will just read about it, get overwhelmed and move on, but let me encourage you to act. You can get some ideas on how to act by clicking here. Also, check out the preview of The Lazarus Effect below and then find 30 minutes to watch the whole movie.