This image shows the number of African children orphaned by AIDS 2010 compared with 2000.
AIDS is a fairy recent phenomenon, one that is now known to have started in Africa after scientists identified a strain of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus in Cameroon chimpanzee colonies ~ SIV being a 'viral ancestor' of the HIV-1 virus that causes AIDS in humans. AIDS was first transferred to humans in the 1930s with HIV-2 being identified as migrating to humans in Guinea-Bissau during the 1940s. At this stage AIDS was still a relatively unknown virus and even by the 1960s only around 200 infections had been noted, though possibly the figure was somewhat higher as medical staff were not fully aware of its existence. However in the 1970s, the virus entered the urban social network after a solitary infected individual travelled down the River Congo from Cameroon and arrived at the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital city, Kinshasa.
A tragedy of epidemic proportions was about to begin; an epidemic that was sweep across Africa claiming the lives of the equivalent of the entire combined populations of London and New York by 2007. Children in Africa become infected with AIDS for very much the same reasons as all children throughout the world, however certain cultural issues and practices in Africa has made the spread more endemic. Firstly, a lack of education and awareness amongst parents and children is a major contributory factor, particularly street children who are out of education and often sexually exploited by infected adults.
Although direct sexual contact is not a major factor in AIDS transmission, in certain countries such as Lesotho 30% of boys report that they have had sex before the age of 15yrs compared with 6% in developed countries. Such sex is often with older, unprotected partners. By far, most children in Africa with AIDS are infected through their mother either during pregnancy or by breastfeeding. The table below gives facts and figures for children living with AIDS for each country in Africa.
|Country||Child population (0 -17yrs)||Number of children (0-14yrs) infected||Orphaned by AIDS (0-17yrs)|
|Algeria||11,712,000||No data||No data|
|Cape Verde||221,000||No data||No data|
|Central African Republic||2,061,000||14,000||72,000|
|Comoros||293,000||No data||No data|
|Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||9,768,000||52,000||420,000|
|Egypt||31,527,000||No data||No data|
|Equatorial Guinea||317,000||No data||5,000|
|Kenya||19,182,000||No data||No data|
|Libya||2,220,000||No data||No data|
|Mauritius||361,000||No data||No data|
|Morocco||11,030,000||No data||No data|
|Sao Tome and Principe||77,000||No data||No data|
|Seychelles||43,000||No data||No data|
|Tunisia||3,004,000||No data||No data|
|Western Sahara||No data||No data||No data|
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