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Africa: HIV/AIDS

    Sub-Saharan Africa is suffering from a horrible disease, HIV/AIDS.  HIV/AIDS is something that impacts the people of Africa. 

     HIV and AIDS are diseases that effect your immune system.  HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  The virus can only effect humans and once you have it, you have it for life.  HIV attacks your CD4 cells and your T-cells. Without these cells, your body cannot fight infections.  You can live with HIV if you get special treatment but the treatment is so expensive that most people in Africa can't afford it.  The treatment makes it so the HIV infection does not completely destroy your immune system. Once HIV destroys your immune system you have AIDS.  AIDS alone doesn't kill you, but without an immune system, if you get a cold or get scratched you could die.

    HIV and AIDS have huge impacts on Africa. First off, these diseases are destroying economies. In one year more people died in Africa from HIV or AIDS than people died in all the wars in Africa. Six-thousand people die per day in Africa due to these diseases. Eleven-thousand people per day in Africa are infected with AIDS. This disease causes more children to become orphans because their parents are dying from AIDS. In fact, eleven million children have become orphans due to these diseases. The diseases mainly effect sub-Saharan Africa.

    There are lots of statistics about HIV and AIDS relating to Africa. For example sub-Saharan Africa is the only place in the world where there are more women affected with HIV than men.  Another fact is that about 70% of people with HIV or AIDS worldwide live in sub-Saharan Africa, which is about two thirds of the 40 million people.  In addition, in Africa, in 2008, 33.4 million people were living with HIV.  Also in 2008, there were 2.7 million new infections of HIV in Africa. There were also 2 million deaths from AIDS in Africa in 2008. 

    This issue has been getting better; since 2001 the percentage of new infections has decreased by 34%. This is mainly due to Antiretroviral Treatment.