Our Top Facts on AIDS in the Developing World
How is it possible to live and die with AIDS when you make less than $1 a day?
July 11, 2000
The most promising treatments for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can cost sufferers up to $10,000 a year. Unfortunately, that amount is almost 20 times higher than the average annual income of sub-Saharan Africans. Our Globalist Factsheet examines the significant human and economic costs of AIDS in developing economies, particularly those of sub-Saharan Africa.
As of 2000, there are 34 million people worldwide infected with AIDS or infected with the HIV virus. Fewer than 2% of them have access to life-prolonging therapies of antiretroviral drugs — or even basic treatment for secondary diseases caused by AIDS.
Nearly 70% of the world’s people living with HIV or AIDS were in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nineteen percent of the known cases were in Southeast Asia, 2.8% in North America, 1.6% in Western Europe, and 0.7% in North Africa and the Middle East.
A typical course of antiretroviral drugs costs about $10,000 a year in the United States, where the annual per-capita income is $29,240. If adjusted for Africa’s much lower per-capita income of $510, the same treatment would cost an African sufferer $174.
Since 1945, just three diseases — tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS — have caused about 150 million deaths worldwide. That is more than six times the 23 million people killed in the world’s military conflicts.
World Health Organization
As of 2000, the number of new HIV infections is estimated at 15,000 a day.
Since the 1980s, more than 16 million people have died from AIDS — 60% of them in sub-Saharan Africa. This is the most devastating disease since the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages.
By 2010, AIDS will account for a decrease in life expectancy of 17 years in at least nine African countries. That will put these countries’ average life expectancies at their 1960s levels.
UN Human Development Report
Between 1992 and 1999, U.S. financial assistance to combat AIDS around the world has stayed level at about $120 million per year — or just about half of what Americans spend annually on treatments for baldness.
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to only 10% of the world’s population, but 70% of all known AIDS cases. Economically, it earns only 1% of world GDP.
United Nations, The Globalist
In 2000, the United Nations estimates that it would need $2 billion to fund adequate AIDS prevention in Africa — and a similar amount for AIDS treatment.
Tanzania’s economy is expected to shrink by up to 25% by 2015, if AIDS continues to spread at its current rate. As of 1998, about 50% of all hospital beds in Uganda were occupied by patients with HIV or AIDs.
World Economic Forum, World Bank
As of 2000, 25.9% of Zimbabwe’s adult population is infected with HIV or is suffering from AIDS. In Botswana, the rate is 25.1% and in Namibia 19.4%. In the United States, it is 0.76% and in India 0.82%.
World Health Organization
As of 2000, 40% of pregnant women in the worst-hit cities of southern Africa are HIV-positive — and more than one child in ten has lost its mother to AIDS.
As of April 2000, an estimated 4.2 million South Africans are infected with HIV, with 1,700 people newly infected every day. By 2010, South Africa and several other sub-Saharan nations will have lost up to a quarter of their population due to AIDS.
After South Africa, which has more HIV-infected people than any other country (with 4.2 million or about 20% of the adult population), India ranks second with 3.7 million — although this represents only 0.7% of adults.