AIDS Prevalence and Awareness in South Africa

AIDS Prevalence and Awareness in South Africa

Johannesburg, the largest metropolitan area in the continent of Africa. The population of the main metropolitan area is 1,907,229 ( WorldBook encycl.130). Johannesburg is also one of the world richest gold fields. Despite these positive aspects, Johannesburg is a city with a dismal future, because it is suffering from one of the world's worst AIDS epidemics. Every Saturday, nearby cemeteries are busy with the arrival of people who have died from AIDS. Funeral directors state that about 30 or 40 people are buried every week, as a result of AIDS. It is said that in South Africa, one of every ten people has AIDS. Some 17 million people in Africa have died representing almost 80% of AIDS deaths world wide. This is the equivalent of the combined populations of New York City and Los Angeles (www.Time/2001/aidsafrica). There is a conspiracy of silence fueling the spread of HIV in South Africa. Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, and has one of the fastest growing infection rates AIDS is now South Africa's leading cause of death. Last year it accounted for 40% of all deaths between the ages of 15 and 49 ( By the year 2010, HIV prevalence in adults is projected to reach 25% of the total population. South Africa is projected to have the highest AIDS death rate until 2015. At that point, the population will have decreased to the point that the death rate will no longer be as high as in other areas.

South Africa has a population close to 40 million people - an estimated 4.2 million (10.5%) are infected with HIV. Of these, half are women ages 15-49. Over 40% of pregnant women are HIV-positive. The impact of AIDS in South Africa is overwhelming.

The disease has orphaned 370,952 children

95,000 children have been infected with AIDS.

The adult prevalence rate of HIV is 20%.

While there are limits in extrapolating the general population, it is estimated that 4.2 million people were HIV positive in 1999, compared to approximately 3.6 million in 1998. (

Statement of Need: Understanding who is Affected by AIDS

Demographics show that those most affected by AIDS are women and children. African women and children have been particularly hard hit by AIDS. There are now 16 million African children who have lost at least one parent to AIDS. Johannesburg medical agencies state in their reports that in the next 10 years, that number will reach 28 million.

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