Stand Together

HIV & AIDS; Helping Sub Saharan Africa

What is HIV?

To understand what HIV is, let's break it down:

H-Human- This particular virus can only infect human beings.
I-Immunodeficiency- HIV weakens your immune system by desrtoying important cells that fight disease and infection.
V-Virus- A virus can only reproduce itself by taking over a cell of the body of its host.

HIV: human immune deficiency syndrome

What is AIDS?

To understand what AIDS is, let's break it down:

A-Acquired- AIDS is not something you inherit from your parents. You acquire AIDS after birth.

I-Immuno- Your body's immune system includes all the organs and cells that work to fight off infection and disease.

D-Deficiency- You get AIDS when your immune system is "deficient" or isn't working the way it should.

S-Syndrome- A syndrome is a group of symptoms and signs of disease. AIDS is a syndrome, rather than a single disease, because it is a complex disease with many different complications and symptoms.

AIDS: acquired immune deficiency syndrome

How do you get HIV or AIDS?

HIV is found in specific human body fluids. HIV lives and reproduces in blood and other body fluids. If any of these fluids enter your body, you can become infected with HIV. These fluids can contain HIV:

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Pre-seminal fluid
  • Vaginal fluids
  • Rectal(anal) mucous

Feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit DON'T contain enough HIV to infect you, unless they have blood mixed in with them and you have direct contact with them.

How is HIV transmitted through bodily fluids?

HIV is transmitted from one person to anther by:

  • During sexual contact
  • Pregnancy,childbirth,or breastfeeding
  • Injection drug use
  • Occupational exposure
  • Blood transfusion/Organ transplant

How do you get AIDS?

AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, and occurs when a persons's immune system is damaged very badly and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Before the development of certain medications, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in a few years. Currently, people can live much longer with HIV before they develop AIDS.

HIV and AIDS statistics

  • 33.4 million are currently living with HIV/AIDS.
  • More than 25 million people have died of AIDS worldwide since the first cases were reported in 1981.
  • The HIV epidemic not only affects the health of individuals, it impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.
  • In 2008, 2 million people died due to HIV/AIDS, and another 2.7 million were newly infected.
  • Gay and bisexual men,of all races, are the most severely affected by HIV.
  • About 1 in 4 new HIV infections is among youth ages 13-24. Most of them don't they are infected, are not getting treated, and can unknowingly the virus on to others.
The estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS globally, by country, as of 2008

HIV and AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa

  • 97% of those living with HIV reside in low and middle income countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Children under 15 years old are only half as likely as adults to receive the lifesaving treatment they need.
  • 260,000 new HIV infections occurred among children in low and middle-income countries in 2012.
  • Without treatment, one third of infants living with HIV will die before their first birthday. Half will die before their second birthday.
  • 72% percent of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains little more than 12% of the world's population.
  • Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 15 million Africans have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
In 2011 there were an estimated 23.5 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa. This has increased since 2009, when an estimated 22.5 million were living with HIV, including 2.3 million children.

The increase of people living with HIV could be partly due to a decrease in AIDS-related deaths in the region. There were 1.2 million deaths due to AIDS in 2011compared to 1.8 million in 2005. Almost 70% of people living with HIV worldwide live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

HIV and AIDS has caused immense human suffering on this continent. The most obvious effect of this crisis has been illness and death, but the impact of the epidemic has certainly not been confined to the health sector. Households, schools, workplaces, and economies have been badly also affects families greatly. With 34 million orphans in the region today, 11 million are are orphaned by AIDS. During the last decade, the proportion of children orphaned as a result AIDS rose from 3.5% to 32% and will continue to increase as the disease spreads unchecked.

An orphan, one of millions, orphaned due to AIDS
Percentage of people, per country, battling HIV as of 2005

Especially pointing out southern Africa, where there is a high rate of HIV cases

How can you prevent HIV/AIDS?

There are many ways you can protect yourself from HIV. The surest way is to abstain from sexual intercourse and from sharing needles and "works" if you use steroids, hormones, or other drugs. Here are the best ways to prevent yourself and otheres from getting HIV.

  • Abstinence (Not having sex)
  • Fewer sexual partners
  • Be faithful to your partner
  • Use a condom
  • Never use needles (Not injecting drugs)
  • Know your partner's HIV status
  • Get tested

Those are just some of the simple ways we can prevent HIV and AIDS from spreading. If everyone practiced at least one of the ways to prevent HIV transmission, the decrease in HIV cases would drop dramatically. Everyone should be educated about HIV and AIDS, so we all can take a stand and fight it together.