IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS seems to have created an unprecedented burden of disease to the public healthcare systems around the globe and, the future demographic impact of the disease is relatively unpredictable (United Nations 1). Currently, HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence rates seem to have assumed upward trends. As a result, health status of the global population, which is living with HIV and AIDS, has emerged to be one of the health risk concerns among international health agencies and Independent Governments. Moreover, the ever increasing mortality rates among the affected population pose a significant demographic impact. United Nations states, “HIV/AIDS will have long-term effects on families, communities, enterprises, agriculture and the well-being and economic future of society as a whole” (1). It is evident that HIV/AIDS epidemic has caused devastated consequences since 1981, when the disease was first diagnosed. For instance, AIDS-related deaths accounted for 22 million lives by 2002 and 42 million people among the global population were living with HIV/AIDS. Recently, in 2009, the population people living with HI/AIDS had increased to 33.3 million and, this number was found to have risen to 34 million by the end of 2010 (Avert par. 1). Further epidemiological reports indicate that over 57 million people had been infected with HIV by 2001, barely two decades since the pandemic was reported, in 1981 and, most of the people were found to have been infected through sexual, parenteral and mother-to-child transmission modes (Marison 8). Therefore, this research will give an overview of the global HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence trends. It will also discuss the epidemiological impacts of the pandemic, especially with regard to economic growth the burden of disease to the health sector.
The prevalence and incidence rates of HIV/AIDS seem to assume different trends in different countries and, this is probably caused by changes in the demographic factors. In some regions such as the developed countries, prevalence of the pandemic is relatively low while these trends are reversed in developing countries. It is also worth noting that, mortality rates of HIV/AIDS appear to be correlated with the ambient prevalence and incidence rates within different regions. For instance, AIDS-related deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa were 1.2 million compared to 1,600 deaths, which occurred in the Oceania region, in 2010 (Avert 2).
Global HIV/AIDS Prevalence and Mortality Trends
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Source; Avert 2013
Prevalence and incidence rates, in the United States, are believed to be declining since 2007. In this year, the incidence rate had increased immensely compared to the rates recorded in 2006, in which an estimated number of new HIV infections was 48, 600 but, this population increased to 56, 000 by the end of 2007. It is believed that, since the emergence of the epidemic, the total number of people living with HIV was 1.2 million, in which epidemiological reports revealed that a fifth of the total population was unaware of their health status. On the other hand, about 1,129,127 were diagnosed with AIDS in the same period. In 2010, incidences of new HIV infections were 47,129 and, 33,015 were diagnosed with AIDS (Avert 1).
On the other hand, HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence trends, in Canada seem to have assumed a downward trend since 2000. Epidemiological reports show that, the total number of people who had been infected with HIV, by 2009, was 69,844 while those who had been diagnosed with AIDS were 20,747 (Avert 1). However, it is worth noting the prevalence and incidence trends among the Canadian population vary significantly, especially with regard to gender. HIV/AIDS seems to be highly prevalent among men as compared to the women and, this difference is believed to be caused by an intertwining of different epidemiological factors.
Latin America and the Caribbean countries are believed to be highly affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, in the American Continent because; these two regions recorded the highest number of people living with HIV by 2010. In addition, an extremely high number of AIDS-related deaths had occurred during the same period, in which Latin America recorded 58, 000 AIDS deaths, in 2009, whereas the Caribbean recorded 10,000 deaths, in 2011. Currently, 3% of the Caribbean population is living with HIV; thus, this region is ranked second in HIV prevalence after Sub-Saharan Africa, which records the highest number of deaths, globally (Avert 5).
In the European region, prevalence and incidence rates are relatively low with UNAIDS reports showing that, an estimated number of 2.3 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, in 2010. Moreover, epidemiological reports indicate that HIV prevalence rates vary significantly in different regions with Eastern Europe recording the highest prevalence and incidence rates of about 1 percent. Central Europe recorded low prevalence rates of 0.1 percent, although some countries in this region recorded prevalence rates of less than 0.1, in 2010 (Avert 7).
Prevalence and incidence trends, in the European Continent, can be explained by the situation, in the United Kingdom. An epidemiological report released by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed that by the end of 2011, about 96,000 people among the UK population were living with HIV, in which a quarter of the diseased population were unaware of their health status, prior to HIV diagnoses. Further reports show that, in 2011, newly diagnosed HIV cases were 6,280; thus, the total number of people living with HIV by the end of 2012 was estimated to be 124,602. Moreover, the number of people with AIDS, in UK, had increased to 27,814 by mid 2012, in which 20,674 were believed to have died, although the causes of death of some people were not necessarily related to AIDS (Avert 7). However, it is worth noting that HIV/AIDS prevalence exhibits demographic variations, in which men records higher rates compared to women. In addition, modes of HIV transmission among the UK population are different, although sexual, parenteral and Mother-to-child transmissions accounts for the highest percentage.
Australia seems to be facing an unprecedented increase in HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, especially with regard to the previous decade, in which the annual incidence of HIV increased from 775, in 2001 to 1,136 by the end of 2011. In contrast, AIDS cases decreased significantly from 213 to 115 in the same period (Avert 4).