It was in 1980 that cases of a new disease were observed in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Strikingly, it seemed to affect homosexual men exclusively. Of the 80 or so cases described, 26 died that same year.
It quickly became clear that the disease and its causes needed to be addressed to prevent further spread. It was also considered very serious, as the mortality rate was over 40%.
At some point, the disease was called AIDS, which is an abbreviation for "acquired immuno deficiency syndrome". Translated into German, it means something like the syndrome of acquired immune deficiency. Over time, it was possible to prove that AIDS was caused by the HI virus.
Prejudices that need to be refuted
Contrary to the prejudices, by far not only male homosexuals with frequently changing partners and drug addicts are affected by the disease. On the contrary, patients carrying the HI virus can be found in all social classes. In the German-speaking world, however, we are currently in the fortunate position that the number of new infections is relatively low. The situation is quite different in Africa or India, for example.
Figures on HIV and Aids
In recent years, HIV and Aids have become less important in our country. The number of new infections has stabilised and the number of people affected is relatively low, in contrast to other countries. Nevertheless, the disease should not be underestimated. Because even if the therapy works well today, it is a disease that ends in death in any case. In addition, the HIV infection also brings with it a massive restriction of the quality of life, even if AIDS has not yet broken out.
On a global scale, the figures surrounding AIDS and HIV are devastating. The United Nations AIDS Control Programme UNAIDS published some statistical figures at the end of 2010 that more than clearly depict the situation around AIDS: For example, there are about 33.3 million people infected with HIV worldwide. In 2009, 1.8 million people died of AIDS.
Africa is one of the hot spots
One of the regions of the world particularly affected by AIDS is southern Africa. South of the Sahara there are about 22.5 million people who have to live with an HIV infection. This means that about 5% of all adults are infected with the virus.
The numbers among children are also devastating. Especially infants and small children are often affected, because with the poor living situations it can hardly be prevented that the virus is transmitted from the mother to the child.
The number of people who die of AIDS in this region every year is particularly alarming. In 2009, this figure was 1.9 million people.
AIDS in Western and Central Europe
The figures for Western and Central Europe are much more positive than for South Africa. Nevertheless, it is frightening how many people are affected by the disease. About 0.2% of all adults are infected with HIV. Expressed in figures, this amounts to 820,000 people.
The number of newly infected people is relatively stable and was 31,000 people newly infected with HIV in 2009. In the same year, 8,500 people died of AIDS - even though medical care here can be described as very good.
The situation in Germany
In Germany alone there are about 70,000 people infected with HIV. The majority of these are men. Shockingly, 200 children under the age of 15 are also infected with HIV.
In 2009, there were a total of about 550 people who died of AIDS. The number of new infections is quite constant and affected in 2010 in about 3,000 people. Of those infected, 760 people newly contracted AIDS, the final stage of HIV infection that inevitably leads to death, in the same year. Among them were also five children.