Nelson Ijumba

Nelson Ijumba is Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

2011 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the first report of HIV, which came from the United States, where cases of an unusual disease were seen among young gay men. Thirty years later, the location and pace of the epidemic has changed dramatically. Globally, an estimated 33.3 million people are infected or living with HIV, of which 22.5 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, of the 2.5 million children in the world estimated to be living with HIV, 2.3 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Southern Africa, the most affected region, includes a number of middle- and lower-middle-income nations known as the hyperendemic countries. In South Africa alone, there are about 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS. In Swaziland, 42 per cent of women attending antenatal clinics are infected, with similar rates found elsewhere in the region. Many children are affected by the disease in a number of ways: they live with sick parents and relatives in households drained of resources due to the epidemic, and those who have lost parents are less likely to go to school or continue with their education.