EDITOR’S NOTE: World AIDS Day is Dec. 1.
NEW YORK (BP)–AIDS is a worldwide pandemic. The United Nations estimates 33 million people were living with HIV in 2007, the most recent year statistics were released.
Two million people died from HIV/AIDS that year. Antiretroviral drugs have helped decrease the death rate but not the infection rate. For every two people put on the drug, five more become infected.
The facts are staggering:
— Of the 33 million people who have contracted HIV, 2 million are children and 90 percent of those live in sub-Saharan Africa.
— An estimated 67 percent of all HIV infections worldwide are in sub-Saharan Africa, making it the most heavily affected region in the world.
— Roughly 5 million people live with the disease in Asia.
— In the Caribbean, 230,000 people are infected with HIV.
— Eastern Europe saw an increase of more than 100,000 cases, bringing the total of those living with HIV to 1.5 million, mostly in Russia and Ukraine.
— In Latin America, 1.7 million people live with HIV. Most are in Brazil and Mexico, the countries with the largest populations.
— Of the 2 million people with HIV in North America and Western and Central Europe, roughly 60 percent (1.2 million) live in the United States.
— The Middle East and North Africa have about 380,000 infected people. Sudan accounts for the majority with 320,000.
— About 74,000 people live with HIV in the southern Pacific islands. Papua New Guinea accounts for the bulk with 54,000. Australia has about 18,000.
Jace A. Williams writes for the Baptist Press international bureau. Source of information: UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2008. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS releases statistics every two years. For more information, visit unaids.org.