"Quite simply, AIDS is on track to dwarf every catastrophe in Africa's recorded history."

--Mark Schoofs
Pulitzer Prize winning journalist

Need > The AIDS Pandemic in Africa
 
Can you even imagine 20 million orphans?

Just two or three thousand orphaned children is amazing to comprehend. Yet there are 12 million AIDS orphans now in Sub-Saharan Africa--expected to grow to an estimated 20 million by 2010. This crisis is immense.

The numbers are real…and our response must be just as real.
Love in action can spread faster than AIDS.

A challenge to human life and dignity

Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is the first epidemic of a totally new disease since the fifteenth century. World leaders are calling it "one of the most formidable challenges to human life and dignity." The international agencies are describing the scale and impact of AIDS as the most devastating of any disease to ever face humanity. Scientists predict that by 2020, AIDS will have caused more deaths than any previous disease outbreak in history, and by the same year, it is estimated that 37 percent of all adult deaths from infectious diseases will be due to AIDS.

AIDS is a war against humanity, putting whole nations at risk. Both in countries that are currently being impacted and in countries to be impacted in the future, AIDS is not only the major health problem, but also the major economic and social problem. In AIDS ravaged countries, economies are being crippled, with the potential to lead to the downfall of governments and a breakdown of law and order.

AIDS has distorted the demographic structures of African states by claiming the lives of people who are in the prime of their working life-threatening national economies with collapse. The result will be societies which mainly consist of the very young and the very old. At the same time, about half of all new infections occur in young people, aged 15 to 24 years-decimating the next generation. The disease is thus clouding the future of entire nations and threatens to hold back the hopes of an entire continent. According to a United States National Intelligence Council (NIC) report, the next wave of HIV/AIDS is predicted for 2010 and will affect five nations that compose 40 percent of the world's population--China, India, Russia, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

Orphans are the pandemic's legacy

In Africa, the epidemic is transforming kinship networks--the heart of most African cultures. Orphans, for example, have always been absorbed into the extended famly. But an estimated 12 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both parents, and the virus is also killing their aunts and uncles, depriving them of foster parents and leaving them to live with often feeble grandparents.

     
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