AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is caused by the HIV virus which, over time, wears down the immune system. This lack of natural resistance makes an infected person extremely susceptible to picking up viruses which, in most cases, eventually leads to death.
Every country in the world has, or has had, someone living with AIDS. However, the distribution of cases around the world is very uneven, with over 70 per cent in Africa. Even then the vast majority of the cases found in Africa are located south of the equator with most of these in South Africa itself.
Look at the map above.
Describe, in detail, the global distribution of AIDS.
HIV/AIDS is usually passed on through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. The main ways people contract HIV/AIDS are:
In a developed country AIDS is often found within specific groups such as intravenous drug users. News of someone contracting the virus can have a detrimental emotional impact on relatives and families, as well as on the individual.
In a developing country the cost of medicine to control the disease means that most people go without treatment. AIDS is a debilitating disease which means that eventually those infected will not be able to work, lowering the productivity and potential wealth of a country.
In countries like South Africa or Uganda where AIDS is endemic, children may be left without parents and brought up by their grandparents. Entire middle-aged populations may be missing from societies. There may also be a loss of tourist revenue if it becomes known that there are specific problems with disease in the area.