When we try to predict the future, we often allow our assumptions to argue for our own limitations, sometimes at our peril. In this series of Mistaken Predictions, we deride predictions that close our minds to the future and celebrate our collective visions that allowed us to imagine alternative scenarios. Equipped with tools that open us to near limitless options, we cheer the fact that the future is inherently unpredictable.
“That virus [HIV] is a pussycat.”
–Dr. Peter Duesberg, molecular-biology professor at U.C. Berkeley, 1988
By 2006, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization estimated that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized on December 1, 1981. During 2008 more than two and a half million adults and children became infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus that causes AIDS. By the end of the year, an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. The year also saw two million deaths from AIDS, despite recent improvements in access to antiretroviral treatment.
|People living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||33.4 million||31.1-35.8 million|
|Adults living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||31.3 million||29.2-33.7 million|
|Women living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||15.7 million||14.2-17.2 million|
|Children living with HIV/AIDS in 2008||2.1 million||1.2-2.9 million|
|People newly infected with HIV in 2008||2.7 million||2.4-3.0 million|
|Children newly infected with HIV in 2008||0.43 million||0.24-0.61 million|
|AIDS deaths in 2008||2.0 million||1.7-2.4 million|
|Child AIDS deaths in 2008||0.28 million||0.15-0.41 million|
Africa has over 14 million AIDS orphans.
At the end of 2008, women accounted for 50% of all adults living with HIV worldwide.
In developing and transitional countries, 9.5 million people are in immediate need of life-saving AIDS drugs; of these, only 4 million (42%) are receiving the drugs.