Global AIDS Crisis
Since 1981, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people, infected 40 million others and left a legacy of unspeakable loss, hardship, fear and despair. In highly developed countries, cocktails of powerful anti-retroviral drugs have largely altered the prognosis from certain death to manageable chronic illness. However, medicine offers less hope in the developing world where most victims are poor, with little or no access to the proper medical care.
Almost two-thirds of those infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa where poverty, ignorance and negligent political leadership extended the epidemic’s reach and hindered efforts to contain it. AIDS is the leading cause of death in Africa, which has accounted for nearly half of all global AIDS deaths. Besides the personal suffering of the infected and their families, the epidemic already has had devastating consequences for African education systems, industry, agriculture and economies in general.
Slowly, the epidemic has established footholds in the world’s most populous countries including India and China. Most of the world’s people suffering from AIDS are denied access to lifesaving medications because of corporate abuse of drug patent protection, high prices and unfair government policies. At the same time, many countries still spend more repaying debts to rich creditor nations than they currently spend on fighting AIDS and providing basic health care.