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HIV/AIDS worldwide - Statistics & Facts

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is a virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a condition that leads to the continuous deterioration of the immune system which can ultimately result in death. HIV is passed on primarily through the transmission of an infected person’s blood, unprotected sexual intercourse and injected drug use.

Which countries are most impacted by HIV/AIDS?

In 2019, around 38 million people were HIV positive worldwide. About 20.7 million of those infected with HIV lived in Eastern and Southern Africa. Of the 25 countries with the highest HIV prevalence in 2019, all were in Africa. HIV prevalence in North America and Europe is significantly lower than in other regions, which can be attributed to better awareness, higher hygiene standards and better HIV prevention.

After a peak in 2004-2005, the number of AIDS deaths has been steadily decreasing. Still, there were approximately 690,000 AIDS-related deaths all over the world in 2019, with most of them once again occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. With around 72,000, South Africa had by far the highest number of deaths due to AIDS. Among countries outside Africa, India has the highest number of AIDS deaths.

HIV/AIDS treatment and funding

Since its discovery in 1981, treatment for HIV/AIDS has vastly improved. With the help of antiretroviral therapy (ART), people infected with HIV can effectively stall the progress from HIV to AIDS. Although access to antiretroviral therapy in many countries is still limited, progress over the last few years can be clearly seen.

As expected, spending on HIV/AIDS is a very important issue. In 2019, available funding for the battle against the disease totaled around 18.6 billion U.S. dollars globally. However, this will have to rise steeply with some estimates placing the funds required by 2020 at 26.2 billion. Poorer countries mainly depend on international funding to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For example, public and philanthropic institutions from developed countries are among the top funders for research and development on HIV/AIDS.


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