Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which was discovered in 1983 to be the cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has, in 34 years of its discovery, continue to spread and ravage humanity as it leaves millions of deaths in its wake annually. In spite of the dastardly outcome of this epidemic, it feels as if the human race is not awestruck enough by the activities of this life-threatening and life-ending virus, hence the need to present to humanity some jaw-dropping statistics of HIV which is hoped will serve as a needed awakening, albeit a rude one, to the loathsome reality that HIV is.
Due largely to the facts that no cure exists for HIV and the virus is so contagious, HIV is regarded as a major global public health pandemic. In a bid to enlighten us about the prevalence of HIV and to help us heed to the saying that prevention is not only better, but cheaper than cure, the under-listed are some HIV statistics which definitely will rouse us to employ preventive measures against HIV infection.
- Since the discovery of HIV, it is reported that a whopping 78 million people have become infected with the virus. Sadly, that is more than double the entire population of Canada which stand at about 36.29 million people.
- Of the 78 million people that have become infected by HIV since it was discovered, 35 million of them have died as a result of AIDS-related illnesses which is about triple the population of Haiti, i.e., 10.85 million people.
- Sadly, about 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016 alone which is about the population of the State of Montana.
- As of today, over 36.7 million people are living with HIV worldwide, which is about the estimated combined population of the States of Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio.
- A cursory look at the over 36.7 million people currently living with HIV will reveal that about 1.8 million are children and in comparison to United States population, that is about the entire population of West Virginia.
- One disturbing statistics is the fact that of the over 36.7 million people living with HIV, about 30 percent that is, 11.01 million of them do not know that they are infected with the virus. That number is about the population of Wisconsin and Colorado combined.
- HIV is more associated with people domiciled in low or middle-income countries given that 25.5 million people (about the population of North Korea) living with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- One statistic that always should gladden our minds and shows that there is hope for the future is that in 2016, an estimated 1.8 million new HIV infections were recorded, which is a decline from 2.1 million new HIV infections in the previous year of 2015.
- Another ray of hope is that between 2010 to 2016, the number of new HIV infections among children had declined by 47 percent, which is a decline from 300, 000 new cases in 2010 to a mere 160, 000 new cases in 2016.
- As far as new cases of HIV infection is concerned, in relation to young people (aged 15-24), young women (aged 15-24) represent 59% of that group which invariably means that women are more susceptible to contracting HIV more than their male counterparts.
- The hope that comes with the decline of new cases of HIV infections globally does not really reflect in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, as the number of new cases of HIV infections has risen by as much as 60% in those regions since 2010.
- Concerning the treatment of HIV, a laudable milestone is the fact that in 2016, more than half of the people living with HIV, representing 53 percent had access to HIV treatment.
- Of the 36.7 million people living with HIV, it was reported in 2016 than 19.5 million of them (about the population of New York) were receiving antiretroviral treatment.
- It is foreseeable from available data that a record 30 million (about the combined population of New York and New Jersey) people living with HIV will receive antiretroviral treatment in 2020.
- A big problem associated with HIV is that it is capable of being transmitted from a pregnant woman that is HIV positive to her unborn child. In the fight to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child, drugs have been made available to pregnant women. It is thus a delightful statistic that in 2016 alone, 76 percent of pregnant women living with HIV had access to these drugs which is up from the 47 percent in 2010.
- One-third of deaths among people living with HIV is caused by tuberculosis.
- From 2007 till date, deaths among people living with HIV have declined by one-third.
- In monetary terms, a whopping US$23.9 billion is needed to combat HIV in 2020. That is just about the amount needed by President Donald Trump to build his Great Wall.
The above statistics are hoped to awaken the human race into being more cautious and not to take unnecessary risks that may lead to contracting the deadly virus. Of a truth, no one wants to form part of the above statistics and as said earlier, ‘prevention is not only better, but it is definitely cheaper than cure.’