Killer Facts

  • 34 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2010
  • AIDS has already killed 25 million people
  • Five people die of AIDS every minute
  • 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS
  • Approximately 99 percent of those infected by HIV live in developing countries
  • Almost half the 40 million people living with HIV and AIDS are women
  • AIDS kills mostly members of the productive age group (age 15-49 years) leaving behind the elderly and the young
  • By 2020, a fifth of the agricultural workforce in southern African countries will have been claimed by AIDS
  • 5-6 million people are in need of HIV treatment
  • In 2005, nine out of ten Africans in need of AIDS medicines were still not receiving them
  • HIV and AIDS reduces GDP growth per capita by an estimated 1 percent annually in Africa
  • The incidence of HIV and AIDS in PNG is similar to Southern Africa in 1992 with a 50 percent increase in the infection rate annually

    (Sources: Oxfam, UNAIDS, UNICEF, NZAID, FAO)

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that can damage the body's defence system so that it cannot fight off certain infections.

It may take several years to damage the immune system but during this time the person is infected and can infect others. During these years the person may feel and look well. The person is infected with HIV (HIV positive) but does not have AIDS.

HIV is only spread through blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. Unprotected sex, contact with infected blood, mother-to-child during pregnancy and breastfeeding are the most common ways HIV is passed from one person to another.

What is AIDS?

If someone with HIV goes on to get certain serious illnesses, this condition is called AIDS which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

AIDS is a collection of symptoms and diseases a person gets due to the damage HIV causes to the immune system.

There is still no cure for HIV. Anti-retroviral drugs only help some people stay well for longer.