Preventing HIV Infection

Quick Facts on HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. Everyone is at risk regardless of age race, class, income or religion.

Poverty, discrimination and stigma feed the pandemic. To stop the pandemic, the response must be multisectoral, culturally sensitive, adequately funded and use human rights- including gender equity -as a foundation.

What Makes Us Vulnerable to Infection?

Biological and cultural factors (e.g., girls and women).
Situations (e.g., displaced persons, refugees, poverty stricken, mobile and transient populations such as truck drivers, migrant workers, miners, uniformed services, and prison populations).
Risky behaviour (e.g., anyone not practicing safer sexual behaviour -ranging from abstinence, delayed sexual activity and condom use, commercial sex workers and their clients, men who have sex with men and intravenous drug users).

How many are infected?

By the end of 2000, global estimates (children and adults) included:

Regional HIV/AIDS statistics and features, end of 20001

  Epidemic started Adults & children
 living with HIV/AIDS
Adults & children 
newly infected 
with HIV 
Adult 
prevalence
 rate*
% of HIV-positive 
adults who are 
women
Main mode(s) of
 transmission for those 
living with HIV/AIDS**
Sub-Saharan Africa late '70s - 
early '80s
25.3 million 3.8 million 8.8% 55% Hetero
North Africa & Middle East late '80s 400,000 80,000 0.2% 40% Hetero, IDU
South and South-East Asia late '80s 5.8 million 780,000 0.56% 35% Hetero, IDU
East Asia & Pacific late '80s 640,000 130,000 0.07% 13% IDU, Hetero, MSM
Latin America late '70s - late '80s 1.4 million 150,000 0.5 % 25% MSM, IDU, Hetero
Caribbean late '70s - late '80s 390,000 60,000 2.3% 35% Hetero, MSM
Eastern Europe & Central Asia early '90s 700,000 250,000 0.35% 25% IDU
Western Europe late '70s - 
early '80s
540,000 30,000 0.24% 25% MSM, IDU
North America late '70s - 
early '80s
920,000 45,000 0.6% 20% MSM, IDU, Hetero
Australia & New Zealand late '70s - 
early '80s
15,000 500 0.13% 10% MSM
TOTAL   36.1 million 5.3 million 1.1% 47%  

* The proportion of adults (15 to 49 years of age) living with HIV/AIDS in 2000, using 2000 population numbers

Over the past 20 years, an estimated 21.8 million people have died from HIV/AIDS. In the year 2000 alone, the figure was 4.3 million including 500,000 children (under 15 years old). The end of 1999 saw 13.2 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Africa is the worst hit continent. Adult prevalence rates rise as high as 20% in Namibia and Zambia, 24% in Lesotho, 25% in Swaziland and Zimbabwe, and almost 36% in Botswana.

India ranks second in the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS (3.7 million) behind South Africa (4.2 million).

Some sub-regions in the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia are showing dramatic increases in infection rates. In the Russian Federation, there were more infections registered in 2000 than in all previous years combined.

Ignorance still abounds: in a recent survey in 17 countries on three continents showed that more than half the adolescent questioned could not name a single method of protecting themselves against HIV/AIDS.

In responding to the epidemic, prevention, care and treatment are linked along a broad continuum in which one element reinforces the other. Prevention is a long-term response – campaigns can be complex to implement and results take time to appear. However, prevention is the mainstay of any response, from ensuring a safe blood supply, empowering young people with life skills to make responsible decisions, to 100% condom use prevention efforts are always relevant. The time to act is now.

____________________________
1 - UNAIDS and WHO (2000) AIDS epidemic update: December 2000, Geneva 2000


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