September 21, 2020
The impact of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) on human lives continues, with the Philippines registering an estimated 68,000 adults and children living with HIV/AIDS, according to UNAIDS 2017 figures. Of these, around 30% or 20,000 are not aware or know of their status as HIV or AIDS affected.
The number of people who live with HIV/AIDS around the world is recorded as 36.9 million, as per 2017 figures from amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. The breakdown of the 36.9 million people who are living with AIDS is skewed towards adults (35.1 million) with 1.8 million children less than 15 years of age having to cope with the disease.
Since the discovery of HIV/AIDS in 1981, the global community has witnessed the rapid spread of the disease, even reaching pandemic levels in 2004. The CDC describes HIV/AIDS as follows:
HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These special cells help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body. This damage to the immune system makes it harder and harder for the body to fight off infections and some other diseases. Opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS.
To get a clear grasp of the global impact, here are more facts and figures:
While the medical community continues to search for the cure for HIV/AIDS, medical care and antiretroviral therapy or ART treatment is available for HIV-affected individuals. This treatment is able “to reduce the amount of HIV in the blood” which then allows the body’s immune cells to get back to normal levels.
Information and awareness about HIV/AIDS is a major step to addressing the global problem. Spread the word about what HIV/AIDS is all about and how to avoid being affected. Being informed is the most basic level of protection.
 amfAR.org [2018, August]. Statistics: Worldwide. Retrieved from https://www.amfar.org/about-hiv-and-aids/facts-and-stats/statistics--worldwide/