South Africa
New York

Total population: 43,997,828

People with HIV/AIDS:
5.5 million (12.5% of total population)

• Of the 5.5 million infected, 5.3 million are adults (ages 15+)

• The HIV/AIDS epidemic disproportionately affects women. An estimated 3.1 million women are infected versus 2.2 million men.

• The number of children infected is estimated at around
240,000 and South Africa has approximately 1.2 million
orphans from HIV/AIDS.

Total population: 127,463,611

People with HIV/AIDS:
17,000 (0.0133% of total population)

• In 2001, UNAIDS reported that over 12,000 adults in the 15-49 age bracket were HIV-positive, 0.00941% of the population.

• In 2005 there were 9,900 women, age 15-49, living with

• Gay men that do not practice safe sex and young female
sex workers are most likely to contract HIV.

Total population:

People with HIV/AIDS: 169,556 (0.881% of total population)

• 136,412 HIV-positive individuals live in New York City;
the other 33,144 live in upstate New York.

• Of the 169,556 HIV victims, 126,292 (74.5%) are male,
and 43,262 (25.5%) are female.

• The majority of those infected are adults age 20+ at
166,274 (98.06%), while 3,282 (1.94%) are children.

Method of

In South Africa, HIV/AIDS affects every segment of society. One of the main ways the disease is currently spreading is through sexual contact. A large majority of the public remains uneducated about HIV/AIDS and the ways it can be contracted. According to UNAIDS, approximately 2 million South Africans living with HIV/AIDS do not know they are infected. Many believe they are in no danger of becoming infected and are therefore unaware that they can transmit the virus to others. Consequently, many infected individuals continue to have unprotected sex, perpetuating the spread of the HIV virus.

The transmission of the disease from mother to child is also a common method of contraction and as a result, many South African children are infected.

Relative to other countries, Japan has a very low incidence of HIV/AIDS infection. Because of this, large portions of the population remain uneducated and are unaware of important preventative measures. For instance, Japan has a relatively low rate of condom use. In fact, many Japanese believe that condoms only help to prevent pregnancies, and are unaware that they can help protect against HIV/AIDS.

The most common method of contraction in Japan is through sexual contact. Individuals that are most susceptible are gay men and female sex workers.

HIV transmission through contaminated blood transfusion in the early 1990’s, before screening of the HIV virus was implemented, led to over 2,000 infections.

(see pie chart 1 below)

Of the 169,556 people living in New York with HIV, 38.3% became infected through illegal drug use (IDU). 28.3% contracted HIV/AIDS through men having sex with men (MSM). For 16.8% of the reported HIV/AIDS cases among adults and adolescents in New York, the method of contraction was unknown or different from those listed in the pie chart below. Additional contraction methods include MSM/IDU, heterosexual contact, hemophiliacs or persons with other blood clotting disorders, transfusions or transplant recipients, and pediatric risk.

(see pie chart 2 below)

Treatment &
Public Policy

To combat the AIDS epidemic, the South African government has been implementing the National Strategic Plan 2007-2011. This plan includes increasing the antiretroviral treatment program that is already in place. While the provision of antiretorviral therapy has expanded dramatically in recent years, due to the high numbers of those infected, only a small proportion of those in need of this therapy are actually receiving it.

Several mass media campaigns are also being used as educational tools for the public. These campaigns utilize radio and television ads as well as billboards to communicate health risks associated with HIV/AIDS. One such campaign is called loveLife, which has a website for both youth and adults where information about current research, treatments, and prevention is accessible.

The government has also used the distribution of free male condoms as a prevention strategy. From 2004-2005, for example, 360 million male condoms were distributed to the South African population.

One future goal of prevention in South Africa is to increase the number of pregnant women who receive antiretroviral prophylaxis, which is used to prevent mother to child transmissions.
The Japanese government has formed some educational groups that are reaching out to the gay community in an attempt to plan safe sex as well as organize HIV/AIDS support groups. Some of these groups are Angel Life Nagoya, Sapporo HIV/AIDS organization, and Tokyo Gay Men's Hotline.

In response to the contaminated blood transfusions in the early 1990’s, Japan reacted quickly to create a federal HIV/AIDS treatment program. But even with the available treatment, many HIV infected individuals are unaware of the help available to them and therefore suffer in silence.

In April of 2006, the Japanese government provided financial assistance for the construction of the Lee Hospital. The goal of the Lee hospital is to provide treatment, counseling, and improvement to those affected by HIV/AIDS. The facility makes sure to protect the privacy of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Counseling and testing for HIV are important strategies for New York as it struggles with the effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. HIV detection is the first step towards treatment and help. Once aware of their infection, HIV victims can make lifestyle changes to stop the spreading of the virus.

The infected can receive medications to help them live longer, healthier lives. Some people have been taking medication for the past 10 years and have been living with HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years. But despite medical breakthroughs, there is still no cure.

The William F. Ryan Community Health Center located at 110W 97th St. offers one-on-one and group outreach sessions along with educational classes to assist African - Americans and Latinos to reduce their chances of contracting HIV.

Japan Pie Chart

New York Pie Chart



The HIV/AIDS epidemic represents a growing health hazard for human populations worldwide. Globally, more than 60 million people have been afflicted with the disease and 25 million have already died. The number of individuals living with HIV continues to rise, approaching more than 39 million in 2007. However, rates of increase are not geographically uniform and certain regions are more severely affected by the epidemic than others. A comparative analysis conducted among South Africa, Japan, and the U.S. state of New York yields interesting results.

South Africa, with 12.5% of the total population living with HIV/AIDS, exhibits the highest number of afflicted individuals while only 0.0133% of Japan’s total population suffers from the disease. Women are disproportionately affected in South Africa while gay men are among the most at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS in Japan. Those living with HIV/AIDS in New York comprise 0.881% of the state’s total population and men are more likely to be infected than women. Among all three case studies, HIV/AIDS is most prevalent among adults age 15+, but there is growing concern about rising numbers of HIV cases among children, especially in South Africa.

Although rates of infection vary considerably, methods of contraction are relatively similar in all areas. Sexual contact surfaces as one of the principal means of transmitting the HIV virus. Individuals who are unaware that they are infected exacerbate the spread of HIV/AIDS in all regions. Treatment and prevention has centered upon the provision of antiretroviral therapy, particularly in South Africa. Governmental involvement to help educate the public and provide necessary resources occurs in all three case study locations. While significant improvements have been made in public policy efforts, South Africa has not experienced as much success as Japan or New York primarily due to the shear numbers of infected individuals in this country. Mitigating the risk associated with HIV/AIDS and preventing further dispersion of it is a challenge that transcends boundaries and requires international cooperation.

Created by:
Stephanie Diermeier
Lawrence Hoffman
Kelly McHugh
Jennifer Mikolajczyk
Dan Vidaillet

Last Updated:
May 7, 2007