INTRODUCTION TO AIDS

INTRODUCTION TO AIDS

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

A disease caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). This disease weakens the body’s immune system which is used in fighting against infections.  The virus (HIV) weakens the body’s ability to fight infections like Pneumonia and Tuberculosis.

  • HIV is believed to have originated from Africa, In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa in the year 1920 were the virus crossed from chimpanzees to humans, more than half a century later, a community of scientists discovered the new disease named AIDS.

 

EPIDEMIOLOGY OF AIDS

AIDS is one of the deadliest diseases in the 20th century. Approximately 37.6 million people were infected by HIV by 2020, among them 35.9 million are adults and 1.7 million are children below 15 years of age. In 2020 only, new infections of HIV are estimated to be 1.5 million, 30% less compared to new infections in 2010.  1.3 million are adults and 160,000 are children below 15 years of age. A total of more than 34.7 million people have died since the start of the pandemic.

East and southern Africa is the region most hit by HIV. It is home to around 6.2% of the world’s population but over half (54%) of the total number of people living with HIV in the world (20.6 million people). In 2018, there were 800,000 new HIV infections, just under half of the global total.

  • In Tanzania by 2017 it was estimated that around 1.4 million people were infected with HIV in the country. Tanzania mainland is experiencing a generalized HIV epidemic, with an HIV prevalence of 4.7% in general population. Heterosexual sex remains the commonest (attributing up to 80%) route for HIV transmission in Tanzania Mainland.
  • HIV prevalence is higher in sub-groups such as in people who inject drugs (16-51%) men who have sex with men (22-42%)4 and mobile populations and sex workers (14-35%). Women are disproportionally more affected, with an HIV prevalence of 6.3 % versus 3.9% among men.

The likes of UNAIDS and other international community have set a goal to eliminate new HIV infections by 2030. The Tanzanian government has strengthened efforts to scale up HIV prevention, care, treatment and support services including the recent adaption of Treat All (test and treat) strategy. This has led to decrease in new HIV infections in Tanzania from the peak of 1.34% in 1992 to as low as 0.07% compared to past years.


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