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AIDS is the worst health problem facing the world today, with as many as 40 million people infected. Sixty percent of these people live in the poverty stricken countries of sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV is spread mainly through heterosexual intercourse (including a high incidence of rape) and from mother to baby.
AIDS strikes predominantly at the sexually active, who are also the main providers of food, income, and care.
By 2006, more than 12 million African children had lost at least one parent to AIDS. These orphans are four times more likely to contract HIV in their teens. They are less likely to be enrolled in school, and more likely to fall behind if they are enrolled.
Although South Africa is only the world’s 49th most populous nation, it is home to more HIV+ people than any country in the world. HIV prevalence stands at 20% nationwide; in the province of KwaZulu Natal, where Key of Hope is based, the figure is 40%, making it the epicenter of the global AIDS pandemic.