How Hiv/Aids Affect Population

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HOW HIV AND AIDS AFFECT POPULATIONS
by Lori S. Ashford

T

he AIDS epidemic is one of the most destructive health crises of modern times, ravaging families and communities throughout the world. By 2005, more than 25 million people had died and an estimated 39 million were living with HIV. An estimated 4 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2005—95 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, or Asia. While sub-Saharan Africa has been hardest hit, other regions also face serious

HIV and AIDS by Region, 2005

Region

Prevalence (% of Number of adults and children adults with HIV or AIDS) living with HIV or AIDS 1.0 6.1 1.6 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.1 38,600,000 24,500,000 330,000 1,500,000 1,300,000 7,600,000 1,600,000 78,000 720,000 440,000 680,000

World Sub-Saharan Africa Caribbean Eastern Europe/Central Asia North America South/Southeast Asia Latin America Oceania Western/Central Europe North Africa/Middle East East Asia NOTE:

AIDS epidemics (see the table and Box 1). In recent years, nationally representative surveys have enabled researchers to lower the previously published HIV prevalence estimates for some countries. But the number of people infected and the effects on their families, communities, and countries are still staggering.1 This policy brief gives an overview of the effects of HIV and AIDS on population size, characteristics, and well-being. It also highlights the major efforts needed to control the epidemic. The pandemic continues to spread worldwide despite prevention efforts and successes in a few countries. Comprehensive approaches to improve reproductive and sexual health will require continued commitment and investment. Demographic and Health Effects of HIV/AIDS

Estimates of prevalence include adults ages 15 and older who are infected with the HIV virus or who are suffering from AIDS. AIDS may not appear for many years after infection with HIV. AIDS is treatable but not curable at this time. S O U R C E S : UNAIDS, 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic (2006): Annex 2, table 1; and C. Haub, 2006 World Population Data Sheet (2006).

Box 1

Emerging AIDS Epidemics

Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia—notably Russia and Ukraine—as well as India and China, have seen alarming increases in HIV infections in recent years. India now has the largest number of HIV-infected people, although less than 1 percent of adults are infected. Countries in other parts of Asia, including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Pakistan, could be on the verge of serious epidemics. In many of these countries, injecting-drug use and commercial sex are driving the nascent epidemics, but as the levels of infections increase, HIV spreads from populations that practice high-risk behavior into the general population. Early and aggressive education and prevention programs are needed to prevent a general epidemic and to spare tens of thousands, if not millions, of lives. REFERENCE:

Countries that have been hard hit by the AIDS epidemic have seen mortality surge and life expectancy drop in the last decade, as detailed below. But because the severely affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa also have high fertility (average births per woman) and most have relatively small populations, the epidemic has not led to population decline in the region. In a few countries, such as Botswana, Lesotho, and South Africa, population growth has slowed dramatically or stopped due to AIDS, but overall growth in the region surpasses that of other world regions. Even accounting for AIDS-related mortality, subSaharan Africa’s population is projected to grow from 767 million in 2006 to 1.7 billion in 2050.2 AIDS has nevertheless taken a devastating toll on societies. It ranks fourth among the leading causes of death worldwide and first in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2005, UNAIDS estimated...
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