Day 37 – Remembering the AIDS Epidemic

It’s easy to forget that we continue to face another global pandemic, some say “epidemic” from HIV/AIDS, now going on its 40th year! Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was first reported on in early 1981. Read a historic synopsis of the disease. After living four decades with the disease, here’s where we stand (UNAIDS):

  • In 2019, there were 38.0 million [31.6 – 44.5 million] people living with HIV globally
  • 1.8 million [1.3 – 2.2 million] were children (0–14 years)
  • About 7.1 million people did not know that they were living with HIV
  • Around 690,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide that year
  • 25.4 million people around the world were accessing antiretroviral therapy

HIV and COVID-19. The lockdowns and border closures imposed to stop COVID-19 are impacting both the production of medicines and their distribution. Recent modelling has estimated that a six-month complete disruption in HIV treatment could lead to more than 500,000 additional deaths from AIDS-related illnesses.  An epidemic wrapped within a pandemic.  

Since the first cases of HIV were reported more than 35 years ago, 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Since it started operations in 1996, UNAIDS has led and inspired global, regional, national and local leadership, innovation and partnership to ultimately consign HIV to history.

UNAIDS is leading the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Donate Here.

It’s important to remember that the world is dealing with many more complex, challenging issues than just Covid 19.