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HIV/AIDS: Facts and Figures

By Elia Tadikonda

The unsuccessful efforts of scientists to control, let alone contain, the virus causing AIDS proves that human suffering and loss caused by this virus will continue unabated. AIDS kills more than 8,000 people in a day worldwide or one person every 10 seconds. It accounts for the highest number of deaths by any infection. The disease has claimed more than 25 million lives, which has resulted in 14 million children losing one or both parents. It is estimated that each year 3 million people die of AIDS, which includes 500,000 children under the age of 15.

There is no good news about the HIV problem, as well. Nearly 5 million persons, including 700,000 young children, become infected with HIV every year. Half of the newly infected HIV patients in 2003 were women, and the remaining half were young adults between 15 and 24 years of age.

Accounting for 80-90% infections in the world, unsafe sex stands as the predominant mode of transmission of HIV. Social and economic conditions seem to be the two factors that nurture the disease. HIV has found the tragic human condition caused by ignorance poverty, social abuse and violence as a thriving area. The disease has successfully depleted millions of their natural defenses and has depleted as many families of their sources of livelihood. The impact of HIV is not limited just to the carriers but to their families and friends that surround them.

Viewed globally by developing countries as impacted by HIV/AIDS, poverty stands as a definitive factor. Third world populations seem to be caught in a proverbial vicious circle, where children are concerned. When AIDS appears in an already poverty stricken family, there are scanty means to sustain it medically or otherwise. Young children are pushed into the work environment, and sexual abuse as a part of social abuse leaves the innocent children depleted of their physical as well as social abilities. Demands for services increase with fewer capable people to provide them. When middle aged people contract AIDS, a few years are lost, but when young adults get AIDS, the whole life is lost, crippling the family, the society and eventually the nation they belong to.

1.      The one infection that is causing the most deaths in the world now is HIV.

2.      Six persons die every minute.

3.      What particular aspect of HIV is focused on in paragraph one?

a.       scientists and their research

b.      extent of the problem

c.       types of victims

4.      What factors are said to contribute to the tragic human condition mentioned in paragraph three?

a.       unsafe sex and poverty

b.      social abuse and violence

c.       social and economic conditions

Directions: Study the table at the end of the article and answer the following questions.

5.      Which region has the most people living with AIDS?

a.       Sub-Saharan Africa

b.      North Africa and the Middle East

c.       South and South-East Asia

d.      East Asia

e.       Western Europe

6.      Which region has the least number of deaths?

a.       Sub-Saharan Africa

b.      North Africa and the Middle East

c.       South and South-East Asia

d.      East Asia

e.       North America

7.      Which region has the least number of newly infected patients?

a.       Australia and New Zealand

b.      North Africa and the Middle East

c.       Caribbean

d.      East Asia

e.       Latin America