By Dawn Denmar
Aug 31, 2013 in Health
Recent studies show the global death rate for AIDS has fallen by 21 percent since 2006, but AIDS-related mortality and disabilities from HIV are rising in 22 percent of the 182 countries reporting AIDS due to low prevalence or late arrival of the virus.
The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries and Risk Factors Study 2010 found that worldwide AIDS/HIV peaked in 2006 and has been slowly declining at an average annual rate of just over 4 percent since. The decline is due to decreased incidence of the virus in some areas, together with more common use of anti-retroviral medications.
World Health Organization statistics on HIV/AIDS show that since the disease was first recognized, nearly 70 million people have been infected with the HIV virus, with 35 million deaths. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 69 percent of the total people living with HIV and globally. It is estimated that 0.8 percent of adults from 15 to 49 years of age are living with HIV.
The disease burden is measured by DALYS, which are standardized calculations based on the sum of years of life with the virus and the years of life lost due to premature mortality, together with the percentage of deaths and proportion of global death and disabilities.
Findings show that in 2010 HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of DALYS for men and women in the 30 to 44 age group. It is also the highest cause of DALYS for 21 countries globally.
HIV is the top cause of death in southern and East African countries, including South Africa and Somalia. It is the worst health problem in a number of West African countries and number two in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana. It is the number one cause for DALYS lost in a number of Caribbean countries including Jamaica, Belize and Suriname and the largest cause of death and disability in Thailand. In Russia it is the fourth largest cause of DALYS lost, but the size of the country means it contributes more to the total figures of global disease, giving Russia its place in the top ten worst affected countries.
Countries that have seen the largest drop in AIDS burden are either high-income countries that put control measures into place at an early stage, or low income countries that have initiated good anti-retroviral programs.
Eight countries have reduced DALYS lost by more than 80 percent including Spain, France and Rwanda.
There are only eight countries in the world that have not yet recorded cases of AIDS, typically these are small Pacific nations.
Although the declining rates of AIDS and HIV conveyed by the report indicate an overall promising situation, this should not be a cause for complacence. The report highlights a number of trends but it is clear that the virus is still very much a global problem with country, and often city-specific, needs that have to be addressed at localized levels.