AIDS status & challenges of the epidemic
2. What are the worldwide trends in the HIV/AIDS epidemic?
- 2.1 How many people are affected worldwide?
- 2.2 How has the epidemic evolved in heavily affected regions?
- 2.3 How has the epidemic evolved in less affected regions?
2.1 How many people are affected worldwide?
At the end of 2005, about 38.6 (32*) million people were living with
worldwide. That year, 4.1 (2.9*) million became newly infected and 2.8 (2.2*)
million died because of
Thus, in absolute terms, the number of people living with AIDS
continues to rise because the world
is growing and because
drugs help people with HIV live longer.
In relative terms, however, the proportion of people among the
who become infected with
each year (HIV incidence) is stabilizing and the proportion of
adults living with HIV (HIV prevalence) is levelling off at
about 1%. In several countries, changes in behaviour and
prevention programmes have contributed to lowering the share of
newly infected people.
Note: The 2007 Epidemic Update published by UNAIDS/WHO provides better
estimates of the number of people living with AIDS. Better data collecting
and estimation methods led to revised figures : the total estimated number
of people living with AIDS at the end of 2007 is 33.2 millions, with 2.5
million new infections and 2.1 million deaths (see the 2007 UNAIDS report). This
decrease from previous numbers does not represent a trend in the epidemic,
which is still progressing, but a refinement in the data. For example, the
new estimate puts the number of people that were living with AIDS in 2005 at
around 32 million. The new estimates show the same general trend in the
epidemic than previous ones: a leveling off of the increase in prevalence
since the late 90's, but with a continuing increase in the number of people
living with AIDS.
2.2 How has the epidemic evolved in heavily affected regions?
vary across different countries and regions:
Note: numbers given in the following regional estimates are based on estimates made in 2005, which were revised in 2007. See the 2007 UNAIDS report for the latest estimates.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most
though there are great variations between countries. In this
region, a total of 24.5 million people were living with
in 2005 and some 6.1% of adults were carrying the
The situation is particularly serious in Southern African
countries where the share of people living with
has reached exceptionally high levels but seems to be levelling
off in most countries. The
in South Africa is one of the worst in the world with an
estimated total of 5.5 million people living with HIV in 2005
and an increasing share of its adult
being infected (18.8% in 2005
*). In some neighbouring countries, the percentage of the
adult population living with HIV is even higher, reaching 33.4%
in Swaziland. (2007 UNAIDS update: the epidemic in the South African area now seems to have leveled off, but the region is still the most severly affected.)
On a positive note, the share of people living with
is falling in Kenya, Zimbabwe and in urban areas of Burkina
Faso, because more people are using condoms, they have fewer
sexual partners and are older when they first have sex. In
Africa, about one in six people in need of
are now receiving it.
The Caribbean is the second-most affected
region in the world with some 1.6% of the adult
is the leading cause of death among adults, although the
infection levels have decreased in urban areas of Haiti and in
the Bahamas, and remained stable in neighbouring Dominican
Republic and Barbados.
2.3 How has the epidemic evolved in less affected regions?
For all the following world regions, the average share of the
is lower than the world average of 1%.
In Eastern Europe and central Asia, the
are still spreading, with some 220 000 people newly infected in
2005, bringing to about 1.5 million the number of people living
– a twenty-fold increase in less than a decade. Most of these
people are living in Ukraine and the Russian Federation, which
has the biggest
In Latin America, the biggest
affect countries with the largest
such as Brazil which was home to one third of the 1.6 million
people living with
in Latin America in 2005. However, the most intense epidemics
are occurring in the smaller countries of Belize and Honduras.
has improved greatly in parts of Latin America, but some
countries are too poor to afford the drugs.
Overall, in North America, Western and Central
Europe, some 65 000 people were newly infected with
in 2005, bringing to 2 million the number of people living with
deaths in 2005 were comparatively few as a consequence of
widespread access to
In the United States of America and in some countries of Europe,
seems to be increasing again among men who have sex with men,
which is also a largely hidden problem in Latin America and in
In Asia, some 8.3 million people were living
in 2005. The share of infected people is decreasing in Cambodia,
Thailand, and in parts of India, but is increasing in countries
such as China, Indonesia, Viet Nam, and Papua New Guinea. There
are also signs of HIV outbreaks in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In
Asia, about one in six people in need of
are now receiving it.
infection levels remain low, although Australia’s
is not disappearing.
In the Middle East and North Africa, the
proportion of adults infected with
is very low, except in Sudan. However, the
seem to be growing in several countries – including in Algeria,
Iran, Libya and Morocco. About one in 20 people in need of
are now receiving it in this region.