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frightening facts and figures

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  • Christine Chumbler
    Africa bears the brunt of the world Aids epidemic The Aids epidemics has hit hardest in Africa. Here are some facts and figures on HIV/Aids on the continent.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 1999
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      Africa bears the brunt of
      the world Aids epidemic

      The Aids epidemics has hit hardest in Africa. Here are some facts and figures
      on HIV/Aids on the continent.

      AFRICA, the world's poorest continent, is bearing the brunt of the world
      AIDS epidemic.

      An estimated 33,4-million people around the world are infected with Aids or its
      virus, HIV, according to the latest figures compiled by the World Health
      Organisation and the specialised programme UNAids. Of these, 22,5-million live in
      sub-Saharan Africa.

      Of the 5,8-million people infected by HIV last year, four million are Africans.

      African youths are particularly affected. Last year, 1,7-million children or teenagers
      became infected with HIV.

      In some countries, such as Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, the
      HIV/Aids infection rate is more than 20% of people aged between 15 and 49. Most
      will die within 10 years unless life-extending treatment is made available.

      The Aids epidemic in Africa is inflicting
      a rising social and economic toll. Millions
      of adults are dying in their 30s or 40s,
      leaving in their wake orphaned children,
      overwhelmed hospitals and companies
      and schools hit by the loss of skilled


      Certain statistics may be misleading,
      because some nations have better health
      monitoring systems than others:

      ANGOLA: Officials say that from 1985
      to June 1999 only 5 112 cases of
      full-blown Aids were recorded among an
      estimated population of between 10 and
      11-million people. At least 189 000
      people have the virus. Experts say the
      official figures are underestimates, while
      much of the health structure has been
      destroyed in a a civil war which has
      raged on and off for the past 25 years.

      BOTSWANA: UNAids said in
      November 1998 that 25% of adults in
      Botswana, population 1,55-million, were
      infected. It is forecast that the number
      of Aids orphans under the age of 15 will
      reach 65 000 by 2000.

      DJIBOUTI: Of some half a million
      inhabitants, officials say 21 000 are
      infected, while more than 1 707 Aids
      cases have been declared in the latest

      ETHIOPIA: A year ago, authorities warned of an "alarming spread" of the
      epidemic, making the east African country one of the 15 most affected in the
      world. More than 2,-million people have the virus and 10% of the urban population
      is affected, the health ministry says.

      LESOTHO: Last year, UNAids said that 8,35% of adults were infected, with
      85 000 adults and children living with HIV/Aids and an estimated 8 500 Aids

      MALAWI: According to a national Aids secretariat and World Bank study, 13,8%
      of the adult population is HIV-positive. Up to 700 000 children could be orphaned
      by next year. The government plans to launch a national awareness campaign in
      October "to break the silence" about the disease.

      MOZAMBIQUE: The total number of cases is currently estimated at 1,5- million,
      about 8% of the population. A single HIV-testing centre functions in Mozambique,
      which emerged from 16 years of devastating civil war in 1992. A lack of
      awareness of Aids and its impact is widespread, with surveys finding that most
      ordinary citizens do not believe Aids exists and refuse to use condoms.

      NAMIBIA: UNAids figures in 1998 showed that 19,94% of the adult population
      was infected, with 150 000 adults and children living with HIV/Aids and an
      estimated 7 300 orphans.

      NIGER: The health ministry in the mainly desert west African nation says that
      more than 5 000 people suffer from Aids. Experts protest that when the
      government launched a five-year plan to fight the disease in 1994, Islamic
      associations took steps to disrupt it on religious grounds.

      SOUTH AFRICA: About 3,6-million people are living with the infection, from a
      population of about 42-million, with another 550 000 new infections expected each
      year. Within three years, almost a quarter of a million South Africans will die
      annually from Aids. This figure will reach 500 000 per year by 2008, according to
      government. It is feared that about a million children under the age of 15 will have
      lost their mothers to Aids by 2005.

      SWAZILAND: UN figures for 1998 showed 18,5% of the adult population was
      infected. About 84 000 adults and children are living with HIV/Aids and there are
      about 7 200 Aids orphans.

      UGANDA: At least 1,5-million people, 7,5% of the population, are estimated to be
      HIV-positive, but officials promote a campaign of openness about the disease
      which has helped to cut the infection rate by more than half in six years.

      ZAMBIA: Almost 20% of the adult population is HIV positive, according to health
      ministry statistics. Its survey indicates that a public education campaign is having
      some effect, with people taking fewer sexual partners and using condoms more
      frequently. By 1995, the cumulative number of Aids deaths from the beginning of
      the epidemic was estimated at more than 200 000. By the year 2010, an additional
      1,6-million Zambians are expected to die.

      ZIMBABWE: Figures published last year ranked Zimbabwe as among the
      worst-affected countries in the world. UNAids estimates that 1,5-million people --
      25% of the adult population -- are infected.

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