"In two short decades HIV/AIDS has tragically become the premier disease of mass destruction," said Dr. Jack Chow of the World Health Organization in a recent news conference. He added, "The death odometer from HIV/AIDS is now at 8,000 a day and accelerating."
The sobering statistical diagnosis: Over 40 million people are currently infected with HIV/AIDS, 21⁄2 million of them children under 15 years of age; over 3 million died from the disease in 2002; 5 million more people were infected this year.
It is hard to absorb the meaning of these figures. Compare them with the deaths by terrorist acts. What impact would terrorism have on the world if it slew 3 million people this year? The world would reel in horror and galvanize into action to counter the threat.
Or what if a nation murdered that many people by act of war? The world's nations would denounce the deed as genocide. As it is, these are largely just statistics to most of the Western world—but not to the people in the midst of the plague.
Sub-Saharan Africa has so far borne the brunt of current infections and death. While Southern Africa represents less than 2 percent of the world's population, the region has roughly 30 percent of the world's current cases of the disease.
But that will change, with infections spreading rapidly throughout India, China, Indonesia, Russia and many of the former Soviet satellites. India is thought to be underreporting and underestimating the infection rate there. New estimates project that in 2010 the infection rate will be 25 million people.
Because it can take up to a decade or more for the disease to begin to kill after infection, this insidious evil will keep scything a wide swath of death in mind-numbing numbers into the indefinite future. It is truly reason for Christians to cry out, "Your Kingdom come," praying for the only power that can truly heal the world of this and its many other plagues. That power is the government of God under the reigning hand of Jesus Christ. —WNP