Originally published on Advocate.com March 05 2005 12:00 AM ET
More than 80 million Africans may die of AIDS complications by 2025, the United Nations said in a report released Friday, and infections could soar to 90 million--or more than 10% of the continent's population--if more isn't done soon to fight the disease. More than 25 million African have been infected with HIV. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS estimates that nearly $200 billion is needed to save 16 million people from death and 43 million people from becoming infected, but donors have pledged nowhere near that amount.
In its report, "AIDS in Africa," the U.N. agency examines three potential scenarios for the continent in the next 20 years, depending on the international community's response. Researchers determined that even with massive funding and better treatment, the number of Africans who will die from AIDS complications is likely to top 67 million in the next two decades. "What we do today will change the future," concludes the report, which received input from some of the world's leading experts on HIV and AIDS. "These scenarios demonstrate that, while societies will have to deal with AIDS for some time to come, the extent of the epidemic's impact will depend on the responses and investment now."
UNAIDS has reported that life expectancy in nine countries has dropped to below 40 because of the disease. There are already 11 million orphans because of AIDS, while 6,500 people are dying of AIDS each day. In 2004, 3.1 million Africans were newly infected, the agency said. (AP)