Be the Cause

Facts About AIDS

I found this fact sheet on the web recently. Since so much of this service vacation in South Africa involves helping children who have become orphans because of the AIDS pandemic, I thought the facts and figures would help raise awareness that AIDS is still rampant and tragically affecting so many lives there and around the world. Reading these facts, and looking at the number of deaths from AIDS, made me realize, even sitting here, I need to do something to help these people and countries that do not have access to the health care we have in the U.S.

HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet – The Global Pandemic*

Approximately 2,000 children worldwide are infected with HIV each day. Over 90 percent of these children were infected through mother-to-child transmission.AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

In 2003, five million (4.2-5.8 million) people were newly infected with HIV – 700,000 (590,000 – 810,000) of them were children. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

Approximately 40 million (34-46 million) people are infected with HIV worldwide – 2.5 million (2.1- 2.9 million) of them are children.
AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

In some parts of Africa, more than 60 percent of women aged 15-49 do not know that HIV can be transmitted from a mother to her child.
“No time to be young in a world with AIDS” — A poster produced jointly by UNAIDS and UNICEF, 2002

Infants can become infected during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. 15-20 percent of infant infections occur in pregnancy, 50 percent during labor and delivery, and the remaining 33 percent of infant infections occur while breastfeeding. A UNICEF fact sheet/ Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV- February 2002

In industrialized nations, research and effective intervention have drastically reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV to less than two percent. If we act now, thousands of children’s lives in the developing world can be saved by using proven low-cost interventions.
AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2002 UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

In 2003, three million (2.5-3.5 million) people died of AIDS – 500,000 (420,000-580,000) of them were children. This amounts to approximately 1,400 children’s deaths from AIDS per day. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

Every day an average of 6,000 – 7,000 young people become infected with HIV; that translates to about four to five infections every minute.
United Nations/DESA/Gateway to Social Policy & Development: World Youth Report 2003: The Global Situation of Young People

Worldwide, about 50 percent of all new HIV infections occur among young people 15-24 years-old. Young people and HIV/AIDS: Opportunity in Crises: A joint report by UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO

Women now account for 50 percent of all the number of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

More than 13.1 million children around the world have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic since it began, and that number is expected to reach more than 25 million by 2010. Children on the Brink 2002: A Joint UNICEF/UNAIDS/USAID Report on Orphan Estimates and Program Strategies

In the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, researchers vastly underestimated the impact the disease would have. They originally predicted that the annual number of deaths from AIDS would peak at 1.7 million in 2006.
United Nations/DESA/Gateway to Social Policy & Development: World Youth Report 2003: The Global Situation of Young People

It is estimated that an additional 45 million people will become infected with HIV by 2010 unless the world drastically expands global prevention efforts. Report on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic: December 2002 UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

More than 95 percent of people with HIV live in the developing world. AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2003 UNAIDS/WHO

The material in this fact sheet was last updated in May 2004. For more information call Chris Hudnall at (310) 314-1459 or visit the Web site at

The estimates for this fact sheet were compiled with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

*Please note that the ranges around the estimates in the facts for Global Pandemic define the
boundaries within which the actual numbers lie based on the best available information. These ranges are more precise than those of previous years, and work is under way to increase even further the precision of the estimates.

Settling In

Well after a VERY long and grueling flight we’re definitely settled into the Cape Town atmosphere. It’s alot like home, with most of the problems safely hidden. But we are always looking to see the bigger picture.

We went to some townships today. The experience was similar to the colonias in mexico, only bigger. Much bigger. There seems to have been more uniformity to the shacks too. The tour guide that we had was very educational. From what he was saying South Africa is taking huge steps towards rectifying the atrocious imbalances that apartheid has caused. The new government has been collecting old debt from the big corporations that “forgot ” to pay taxes and using the money to build houses with running water and electricity. There is still overwhelming poverty and need there, but the future seems brighter for the people here.

I was really impressed by the women that we met today. The first has been runnning a soup kitchen in SA for the past 15 years, giving breakfast and lunch for free to every hungry kid who shows up and only charging $.60 to the adults. She says she does it so that the kids can learn. THey can’t go to school on an empty stomach. We gave them donations of clothing and toys as well as $100 from the money that everyone raised with the candy bar fund. The women in this township were so strong and commited to what they were doing!! It was amazing.

The second township we went to had a woman who has started her own bed & breakfast for tourists like us who want to experience what it’s like to live in a township. Her entreuprenuership has won awards world-wide and she has her own website I think you have to be there tor eally get a sense for the irony and bizarreness of this…

And then…. (yes, there’s more) We went to Robben Island where our tour was guided by an ex-political prisoner. It was amazing to see the prison and to see the things I’ve been reading about, but the most significant part of the whole day, for me, was to hear this man who had endured unjust imprisonment, severe, inhumane torture and beatings and countless indignities, to hear him explaining so clearly, the importance and necessity of forgiveness. It was just mindblowing. This man has the key to enlightenment. And he’s teaching people everyday with his tours. I’ve never seen anything like it. I wanted to just cry and cry. But it hasn’t come out yet. This amazing overwhelming experience that I’m having here.

Tomorrow we’re cleaning up an orphanage and then taking street kids to the beach. For some of them, it will be there first time seeing the ocean. It’s got the makings of an another incredible day!

Take care!

-love jeska

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