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HIV/AIDS in Latin America - Statistics & Facts

Diagnoses of the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) continue to strongly affect people living with the disease. However, with new policies, prevention, and treatment, progression of HIV is no longer the public health threat that it once was. Nonetheless, while annual AIDS-related death rates continue to sink worldwide, the disease disproportionately burdens the public health of some regions, including Latin America. Ranging from 0.4 percent in Colombia to 1.9 percent in Haiti, the region is home to some of the countries (outside Africa) with the highest prevalence of HIV among adult population.

Comparing Latin America with the rest of the world

Like the majority of the regions, Latin America has witnessed an increase of people living with HIV over the past few years. Along with treatment allowing HIV/AIDS patients to live longer, new HIV infections also make up this growing number. In 2020, there were 100 thousand new HIV infections reported in Latin America, which was 50 percent more than in Western/Central Europe and North America, but still far below the 670 thousand new cases in Eastern and Southern Africa. Furthermore, whereas 23 percent of the global new infections were among men who had sex with other men, this same population in Latin America accounted for 46 percent of the region’s new HIV infections. This all suggests the region still has plenty of room for improvement in addressing and enhancing sexual education, contraception, and self-care, concerns which lie beneath the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Latin America.

The case of Brazil

With approximately 13 thousand deaths in 2020, Brazil was among the world’s top nations with the highest numbers of AIDS-related deaths, only behind African countries. Moreover, Latin America’s largest nation accounted for nearly half of the region’s new HIV cases in 2020, followed by Mexico with 20 percent. In spite of this alarming situation, domestic and international spending on HIV programs in Brazil has been continuously declining since 2014, attaining a value of almost 559 million U.S. dollars in 2020. However, new preventive methods such as the Pre-exposure prophylaxis pill (PrEP) have been gaining an important space among Brazilians, especially among young adults aged 25 to 39.

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