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Facts & Stats: HIV/AIDS

By worldview
Created 10 Nov 2006 - 07:06

On the African continent it is reported that every day 6,500 men, women and children die of AIDS and another 9,500 Africans are infected with the disease.

At that rate the entire Australian population would be wiped out in just over eight years!

Whilst Uganda is one of the rare success stories in reducing the rate of infections, most African countries have a different story. Their huge debts to the world community are crippling their ability to adequately provide health care and preventative education for their people.

Jubilee Australia has been calling on the Australian government to use its allocated positions within the IMF and World Bank to advocate for immediate debt cancellation for those countries severely impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

More resources are desperately needed to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic and debt cancellation is the first step to releasing funds to combat the spread of this killer disease. Currently, African countries pay out more than $US14 billion each year in debt service.

According to Jubilee Australia’s Fr Brian Gore, poor countries’ debts have already been paid many times over and they are still paying the interest. ‘They are unjust debts, many made to corrupt leaders without checks or balances by the lenders. The poor are still paying off these debts out of their public health care and education,’ said Fr Gore.

Zambia, where 20 percent of the adult population is infected with HIV, spends $76 million on its health budget and $89 million on debt service to the IMF and World Bank.

Due to pressure from the international Jubilee Campaign, a portion of the debt is expected to be cancelled. The richest countries have promised some debt cancellation, and newly released funds are already helping to fight HIV/AIDS. Mali, Mozambique and Senegal are using savings from debt relief to increase their spending on HIV/AIDS prevention in order to stop the spread of the deadly pandemic.

However, to qualify for debt relief countries must adhere to IMF/World Bank structural adjustment policies, many of which include charging the poorest people extra fees for basic healthcare and education. These fees only take AIDS prevention and treatment further out of the reach of the people who need it most.

Jubilee Australia calls on the Australian Government to increase its aid budget from 0.27% to 0.7% of GDP as recommended by the United Nations.

For more information about Jubilee Australia visit: [1] [2]

HIV AIDS: The Global Picture 
Since the epidemic began, more than 60 million people have been infected with the virus. More than 3 million lives in 2002, and an estimated five million people acquired HIV in 2002, bringing to 42 million the number of people globally living with the virus.

Of these 42 million, 38.6 million are adults (19.2 of them women), and 3.2 million are children aged under 15 years.

Of the five million people newly infected with HIV, 4.2 million were adults, (2 million of them women), and 800,000 were children.

Of the 3 million AIDS deaths in 2002, 2.5 million were adults (half of them women) and 610,000 children under the age of 15.

Source: Global Summary of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic December 2002.

The improving Australian picture
The annual number of HIV diagnoses in Australia remains stable at around 700 diagnoses. The annual number of AIDS diagnoses in Australia, after adjustment for reporting delay, peaked in 1994 at 954, and is estimated to have declined to 178 cases in 2001.

The decrease in the number of AIDS diagnoses has been due to the decline in HIV incidence that took place in the mid 1980s and the use, since around 1996, of effective combination antiretroviral therapy, for the treatment of HIV infection. A similar pattern of declining AIDS incidence has been reported in Western Europe, the United States and Canada.

Source: 2002 Annual Surveillance Report HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research. [3]

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