HIV has changed the face of our world completely. Even the doomsday prophets could not have foreseen the destruction that HIV/Aids would leave in its wake.
Let us have a look at what our world looked like in 1989 - and our world in 2002.
Our world in 1989: According to the World Health Organisation (in 1989), “about six million people worldwide may have been infected by the human immunodeficiency virus HIV that causes Aids. Projections are that 15 to 20 million people will have been infected by the year 2000.”
And our world in 2002: According to the UNAIDS, “42 million people in the world are living with HIV/Aids; five million people were newly infected with HIV in 2001; three million people died of Aids in 2001; there are 14 million Aids orphans; 75% of the world’s HIV infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa.”
South Africa in 1989: “150 people are reported to have Aids and 2 400 South Africans are known to be infected with the virus.”
And the situation in South Africa in 2002: “South Africa has one of the most explosive HIV epidemics in the world with about 2 000 new infections per day; 10% of all the estimated HIV infections in the world, occur in South Africa (4.2 million), while South Africa constitutes only 0.68% of the world population; 290 000 South Africans died of Aids in 2000; South Africa has 500 000 Aids orphans; the prevalence rate of HIV infection in pregnant women in provinces like Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal, is between 33-38%.”
HIV/Aids is clearly a national catastrophe and has very awesome implications for individuals, families, communities and workplaces.
Although South Africa is still the epicentre of the epidemic, HIV is also dramatically on the rise in Russia, India and the Carribean Islands. Life expectancy in African countries is dropping dramatically.
(Sources: www.unaids.org; XIVth International AIDS conference, Barcelona)