Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 15 million Africans have died from AIDS. Nearly two-thirds of all people living with HIV are found in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains only about 10% of the world's population.
The Impact on the Health Sector
This epidemic has an extraordinary burden on already troubled health sector. As the epidemic matures, the demand for care for those living with HIV rises, as does the toll of AIDS on health workers.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the direct medical cost of AIDS has been estimated at about US$30 per year for each person infected. Overall public health spending is less than US$10 per year in most African countries.
In sub-Saharan, Africa, people with HIV-related disease occupy more than half of the hospital beds.
HIV positive patients stay in the hospital four times longer than other patients and it's predicted that patients by HIV and AIDS will soon account for 60-70% of hospital expenditure in South Africa.
To save space, people aren’t being admitted until they are in the later stages of illness, reducing their chances of recovery.
There has been an increased shortage of healthcare professionals due to infection and death, as well as excessive workloads, poor pay, and the temptation to migrate to richer countries once trained.
Although the recent increase in the provision of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs, which significantly delay the progression from HIV to AIDS) has brought hope to many in Africa, it has also put increased strain on healthcare workers because providing ARVs requires more time and training than is currently available in most countries.
The Impact on Households
Often the poorest sectors of society are most vulnerable to the epidemic and for whom the consequences are most severe.
In many cases, households dissolve because of AIDS, because parents die and children are sent to relatives for care and upbringing.