AIDS in the United States and South Africa

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AIDS in the United States and South Africa

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS, is a human viral disease that wrecks the immune system. AIDS is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. AIDS leaves an infected person vulnerable to infections. These infections are harmless in healthy people, but in those with weak immune systems, any type of infection can prove fatal. Although there is no cure for AIDS, new drugs are available that can lengthen the life spans and improve the quality of life of people that are infected by this disease.

AIDS was first identified in 1981 among homosexual men and drug users in New York and California. Shortly after it was found in the United States, indication of the AIDS epidemic grew among heterosexual men, women, and children in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS quickly developed into a worldwide epidemic, affecting practically every nation. By the year 2000, an estimated 34.7

million adults and 1.4 million children worldwide were living with an HIV infection or AIDS. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that from 1981 until the end of 2000, about 21.8 million people died as a result of AIDS. More than 4.3 million of those who died were children under the age of 15.

In the United States, about 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year. More than 30 percent of these infections occur in women, and 60 percent occur in ethnic minorities.

In the year 2000, about 800,000 to 900,000 U.S. residents were infected with HIV, and about 300,000 people were living with full-blown AIDS.

It is believed that the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, first originated from Africa decades ago. Today, many would agree that this is the place where it is causing the most devastation. Nearly 27 million of the 36 million people infected with...