Activity 1: HIV/AIDS—A Scourge of the Land
Often likened to the plague that decimated the population of 14th-century Europe, HIV/AIDS has changed the lives and hopes of millions of people around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 20 million people have died of this disease since its discovery in 1981,and 35 million to 45 million currently live with the virus. Africa, where the virus is believed to have originated, has the great majority of cases, but every world region has been touched by this deadly disease. Once thought to affect mainly men, HIV/AIDS is spreading rapidly among women and children.
Part One: What Is the Global Impact of HIV/AIDS?
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- Introduce the topic using the UNAIDS PowerPoint Presentation "Global Summary of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic." [Note: This is a collection of slides highlighting global and regional HIV/AIDS statistics, as of July 2006.]
- Have students read pages 10-14 of the "Demographic Impact of AIDS" from the list above.
- Distribute copies of Handouts 1 and 2. Have the students complete the questions and map based on the above reading.
Part Two: Are Some Regions More Seriously Affected by HIV/AIDS Than Others?
- Divide the class into seven groups. Assign each group one of the following regions.
[Note: Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa can be subdivided if more groups are needed, or groups for these regions can have more students assigned]
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- North Africa and the Middle East
- Eastern Europe and Central Asia
- Latin America
- High-Income Countries
- Direct each group to the above websites to investigate the spread of HIV/AIDS in its assigned region.
- Beginning with the 2004 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, direct students to develop a profile of the region that identifies the occurrence of the disease in the assigned region, specific groups affected, and most common means of spread.
- Next have students locate two or three specific country examples in the "Epidemiological Fact Sheets" in order to develop representative case study examples. Ask them to locate at least one country for which a map is provided and to observe patterns of distribution.
- Have groups report back to the class and consider the following:
- How does the occurrence of HIV/AIDS vary by region?
- Are the same groups affected in similar ways in all regions?
- What patterns of diffusion can be observed? Does the disease spread in the same way in all regions?
- What are some economic and social effects of the disease in each region?