The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been spreading rapidly worldwide for the past two decades, causing a variety of symptoms known as the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which has killed millions of people, and which looks likely to kill millions more. Generally, HIV infection rates are currently decreasing in several countries, but globally the number of people living with HIV/AIDS continues to rise both geographically and among specific demographic groups. For example, despite the remarkable efforts that are being made throughout Africa to avert the spread of HIV and reduce its impact, the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa continues to spread obstinately.
Among the vexing issues related to the AIDS epidemic are the insufficient provisions of planners, policy makers and the public in general in curbing its devastating consequences to the health sector, households, schools, workplaces, economies and the quality of life as a whole. This paper presents information on the association between socio-demographic variables and AIDS prevalence in some African and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
The studied variables included size of population; population density; urbanization; average life expectancy; average female life expectancy; average male life expectancy; literacy; female and male literacy; population increase; infant mortality; average daily calorie intake; gross domestic product (GDP) per capita; religion; fertility rates; death rates; and AIDS-rate. Several parametric and nonparametric statistical techniques were adopted including Kruskal-Wallis, Mann-Whitney and Chi-square tests.
Insignificant difference in the means of AIDS-rates between the OECD countries and the African group was found, but the difference was significant when the USA was excluded from the analysis. As initially expected, life expectancy in the OECD countries was significantly higher than that of the African group while the average rates of infant mortality, population growth, fertility, and death were significantly higher within the African group.
Significant association between AIDS-rate and life expectancy was only found for African males, while association with fertility, infant mortality, population density, and calorie intakes was statistically insignificant. No clear difference between urban and rural areas with respect to AIDS-rates was discerned. Communities of Muslims were less subject to the AIDS problem. In conclusion, future studies should devote more attention toward impacts on HIV/AIDS prevalence of other equally important variables such as access to social and health care services, cultural norms, ethnic diversity, and educational facilities.