The number of us living with HIV today is around 33.4 million, 68% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Many of us don’t have access to antiretroviral medication, many lack HIV/AIDS education and basic medical care. Cultural attitudes are excluding and isolating those infected… and orphans are being created every day.
A few of the facts; HIV stands for: human immunodeficiency virus. This virus attacks a type of white blood cell, ultimately breaking down the body’s immune system and its ability to fight sickness and disease. This leads to AIDS: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of the assault on the human body by the HIV retrovirus.
In 2007, 2.5 million of us were newly infected, a great majority of whom were young people.
In the same year, 2.1 million of us died from AIDS-related illnesses. 76% of these deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa. That’s a lot of orphans…
…Africa as a whole has over 12 million AIDS orphans. That’s 3 times the entire population of Ireland.
Today, over 15 million children across our planet have lost one or both parents to AIDS…
And the infection rate continues to rise in many nations. In 2007, there were 20% more new infections in East Asia than there were in 2001.
Global deaths from HIV/AIDS are projected to rise to 6.5 million in 2030, assuming antiretroviral treatment reaches 80% of the affected population by 2012.
Sadly, young people and children continue to not only be orphaned, but infected themselves by the virus. Adding to the 11.8 million young people (aged 15 to 24) living with HIV/AIDS today.
More than half of all new infections are young people… which is in the region of 7,000 infections every day.
In 2009, 260,000 children died of AIDs-related illness and 370,000 were newly infected. Once infected, these kids are highly likely to experience poverty, homelessness, no access to education, no access to health care, a loss of life’s opportunities and premature death.
If what the Bible says is true – that the religion God’s accepts as pure is to look after the widows and the orphans, we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to help this crisis...? Even if it makes us uncomfortable...
For more info, visit:
UNAIDS (2007) ‘Fact Sheet, Key Facts By Region – Epidemic Update’
WHO, (2007) ‘World Health Statistics 2007’
UNAIDS (2006) ‘Fact Sheet, Eastern Europe and Central Asia’
UNICEF, ‘Children and HIV and AIDS’
AIDS Alliance, ‘ARV treatment fact sheet 02: ARV treatment – summary’