Over the past 27 years, nearly 25 million people have died from AIDS.1HIV/AIDS causes debilitating illness and premature death in people during their prime years of life and has devastated families and communities. Further, HIV/AIDS has complicated efforts to fight poverty, improve health, and promote development by:2*Diminishing a person’s ability to support, work and provide for his or her family. At the same time, treatment and health-care costs related to HIV/AIDS consume household incomes. The combined effect of reduced income and increased costs impoverishes individuals and households. *Deepening socioeconomic and gender disparities. Women are at high risk of infection and have few options for providing for their families. Children affected by HIV/AIDS, due to their own infection or parental illness or death, are less likely to receive an education, as they leave school to care for ailing parents and younger siblings. *Straining the resources of communities – hospitals, social services, schools and businesses. Health care workers, teachers, and business and government leaders have been lost to HIV/AIDS. The impact of diminished productivity is felt on a national scale.Through unprecedented global attention and intervention efforts, the rate of new HIV infectionshas slowed and prevalence rates have leveled off globally and in many regions. Despite the progress seen in some countries and regions, the total number of people living with HIV continues to rise.
In 2008, globally, about 2 million people died of AIDS, 33.4 million were living with HIV and 2.7 million people were newly infected with the virus.
There is growing recognition that the virus does not discriminate by age, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status – everyone is susceptible. However, certain groups are at particular risk of HIV, including men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users (IDUs), and commercial sex workers (CSWs).
The impact of HIV/AIDS on children and young people is a severe and growing problem. In 2008, 430,000 children under age 15 were infected with HIV and 280,000 died of AIDS.1, 4 In addition, about 15 million children have lost one or both parents due to the disease.4