Almost 75 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and more than 39 million people have succumbed to AIDS which has reached epidemic proportions, according to the World Health Organization.
The 20th International AIDS Conference held in Melbourne this week features keynote addresses by former US President Bill Clinton and entertainer and activist Bob Geldolf. “It is only with an open and collaborative dialogue that we can advance in the response to HIV,” said the president of the International AIDS Society.
“AIDS 2014 gathers representatives of science, civil society, politics, and private sector to discuss together at an international level the most pressing issues linked to HIV/AIDS,” said Professor FranÃ§oise Barré-Sinoussi, AIDS 2014 International Chair, President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and Director of the Regulation of Retroviral Infections Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
Some of the shocking and hopeful facts about HIV/AIDS:
- Globally about 0.8% of adults between 15 and 49 years old live with HIV. By 2013 (the time of the last audit) more than 35 million people, world-wide, were living with HIV.
- Sub-Saharan African countries remain most severely affected by the disease where nearly 1 in every 20 adults are infected. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 71% of the world’s HIV infected population.
- By 2013, globally, 75 million people had died of complications associated with the HIV virus since the virus was first identified.
- An estimated 3.2 million children are living with HIV. Most of them are in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding even though mother-to-child-transmission of HIV is almost entirely avoidable. Over 240,000 children became newly infected with HIV in 2013.
- Paediatric coverage is still lagging, in 2013 less than 1 in 4 children living with HIV had access to ART, compared to 1 in 3 adults.
- By 2010 more than 95 million people in 119 countries knew their HIV status.
- There is no cure for HIV infection. However, effective treatment with anti-retroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy and productive lives.
Photos via Shutterstock and World Health Organization