December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day: Statistics & Solutions

Yobachi asked Black bloggers to support the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day. We asked our villagers last year to support efforts to end AIDS.

This year I tried to look at AIDS from a personal point of view. It dawned on me that I don't have personal knowledge of anyone with HIV or AIDS. I suppose that the stigma from this disease is such that people still don't bring it up in polite company. However, I wonder if my experience is atypical?

According to estimates from the UNAIDS 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, around 30.8 million adults and 2 million children were living with HIV at the end of 2007. During 2007, some 2.7 million people became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS.

Have you ever wondered how people get HIV or AIDS? It turns out that 11% of HIV infections are among babies who acquire the virus from their mothers; 10% result from injecting drug use; 5-10% are due to sex between men; and 5-10% occur in healthcare settings. Sex between men and women accounts for the remaining proportion – around two thirds of new infections.

Around half of the people who acquire HIV become infected before they turn 25 and typically die of the life-threatening illnesses called AIDS before their 35th birthday.

The area in Africa south of the Sahara desert, known as sub-Saharan Africa, is by far the worst-affected in the world by the AIDS epidemic. The region has just over 10% of the world's population, but is home to 67% of all people living with HIV. An estimated 1.9 million adults and children became infected with HIV during 2007. This brought the total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the region to 22 million by the end of the year. HIV prevalence varies considerably across this region - ranging from less than 1% in Madagascar to over 25% in Swaziland.

AIDS is one of the top 10 leading causes of death on our earth. Here are some suggestions for dealing with the impact of HIV in America and around the world:
  1. People need to challenge the myths and misconceptions about human sexuality that translate into dangerous sexual practices.

  2. Work and legislation is needed to reduce prejudice felt by HIV+ people around the world and the discrimination that prevents people from "coming out" as being HIV positive.

  3. HIV prevention initiatives need to be increased, people across the world need to be made aware of the dangers, the risks, and the ways they can protect themselves.

  4. Condom promotion and supply needs to be increased, and the appropriate sexual health education needs to be provided to young people before they reach an age where they become sexually active.

  5. Medication and support needs to be provided to people who are already HIV+, so that they can live longer and more productive lives, support their families, and avoid transmitting the virus onwards.

  6. Support and care needs to be provided for those children who have already been orphaned by AIDS, so that they can grow up safely, without experiencing poverty, exploitation, and themselves falling prey to HIV.

What are your thoughts on the HIV/AIDS epidemic? Any personal experiences that influence how you look at the six alternative solutions?


HD Notes said...

Health care in the United States is provided by many separate legal entities. The U.S. spends more on health care per person than any other nation in the world.

In 2007 the U.S. spent $2.26 trillion on health care, or $7,439 per person.

In 2007, there were 45.7 million people in the US (15.3% of the population) who were without health insurance for at least part of that year, according to the United States Census Bureau.

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and others, the U.S. is the only wealthy and industrialized nation that does not have universal health care.

Disclosure: Cincinnati Change is promoting universal health care for the Cincinnati Empowerment Zone through a public private partnership.

The 2008 edition of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care found that providing Medicare beneficiaries with severe chronic illnesses with more intense health care in the last two years of life - increased spending, more tests, more procedures and longer hospital stays - is not associated with better patient outcomes.

The CIA World Factbook ranked the United States 41st in the world for lowest infant mortality rate, which is more important than AIDS.

Of all AIDS cases in 2003 in the United States:

* 48% were tracked back to male-to-male contact
* 27% were tracked back to male-to-female contact and intravenous drug use,
* 7% were tracked back to male-to-male contact and intravenous drug use,
* 16% tracked back to male-to-female contact, and
* 2% were tracked back to other causes, including hemophilia and other blood recipients, perinatal, and risk not reported or not identified.

According to the Census Bureau, in 2007, there were 8.1 million uninsured children in the US. Nearly 8 million young adults (those aged 18-24), were uninsured, representing 28.1% of their population. Young adults make up the largest age segment of the uninsured, are the most likely to be uninsured, and are one of the fastest growing segments of the uninsured population. They often lose coverage under their parents' health insurance policies or public programs when they reach age 19.

Children and teens have no choice, choices are made for them.

We need to spend more money on them.

Also we need to treat AIDS like we would any historic pandemic. A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that spreads through populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide.

Why - AIDS is one of the top three causes of death for African American men aged 25–54 and for African American women aged 35–44 years in the United States of America.

In the United States, African Americans make up about 47% of the total HIV-positive population and more than half of new HIV cases, despite making up only 12% of the population. African American women are 19 times more likely to contract HIV than white women

Unknown said...

Herschel - You dayum sure come correct! I truly appreciate the statistics and information that you've shared with us. I appreciate your support of this blog...

SjP said...

A colleague of mine was one of the first victims of AIDS in my state. We were all so devastated when he died as well as "knowingly" shocked by the cause of his death. Since then I've known several who are living with the virus. We must all do our part to become educated and attempt to eradicate this desease.

Great post and great information!

msladyDeborah said...

Hotep Villager!

This is a great post on the subject of HIV/AIDS.

We have got to be involved in struggle to stop AIDS. I do not see how we can remain on the sidelines. Not when so much is at stake in our communities.

I am linking to black blogs that have posted on the subject this week.

Your post will definitely be included.

Unknown said...

SjP - Sorry to hear of your colleague. Oddly enough, I saw an episode of Cold Case yesterday that focused on a gay man who died in 1983. His partner had AIDS and was in the hospital. That was a time before we knew about HIV/AIDS and many gay men were dying ... and it was being blamed on 'cancer'. Anyhow, I'm glad that I participated in support of World Aids Day 2009.

Lady Deb - Thank you for your kind words. The AIDS statistics continue to shock me. I'm glad to see that the treatment for the disease is so much better here in America ... however, it seems that the diseases is largely preventable. We need to continue to raise awareness throughout the year ... not just on December 1st.