Even though World AIDS Day on December 1 has been used to promote awareness of the disease and mourn those who have died from it since 1988, the global epidemic is far from over. In 2020, approximately 680,000 people worldwide died due to AIDS-related illnesses. While this is a far cry from the peak of HIV/AIDS deaths in 2005, there's still a long way to go to combat the disease as our chart shows.
According to data by UNAIDS, more than ten million people with HIV/AIDS don't currently have access to antiretroviral treatment and the number of new infections with HIV has remained the same compared to 2019 at roughly 1.5 million. When taking a closer look at the numbers, there are enormous regional differences in terms of battling the epidemic. Eastern and southern Africa, for example, combine for 55 percent of all known HIV/AIDS cases, while reducing new infections by 43 percent between 2010 and 2020. Western and central Africa also saw a decline of 37 percent when comparing 2010 and 2020, although it falls short of the benchmark of 75 percent set by the United Nations General Assembly.
While Africa has always been in focus concerning HIV/AIDS, there are other regions around the world with a similar array of problems surrounding the disease. Growing epidemics in Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines, for example, show the uneven progress in the Asia-Pacific region with a reduction of new infections of only 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, while the Middle East and northern Africa was one of only two regions where the number of cases rose between 2010 and 2020. While the seven percent increase in the aforementioned area is a cause for concern already, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Central Asia and Eastern Europe could escalate even further when not controlled. Comparing 2010 and 2020, the number of new infections rose by 43 percent. This is especially concerning due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Studies from South Africa and the UK suggest a poorer outcome requiring intensive care and sometimes resulting in higher mortality in patients infected with both viruses.