HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is one of the world’s most serious public health challenges. But there a global commitment to stopping new HIV infections and ensuring that everyone living with HIV has access to HIV treatment.
According to UNAIDS:
- There were approximately 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS in 2017.
- Of these, 1.8 million were children (<15 years old).
- An estimated 1.8 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV in 2017 – about 5,000 new infections per day. This includes 180,000 children (<15 years). Most of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and were infected by their HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
- Approximately 75% of people living with HIV globally were aware of their HIV status in 2017. The remaining 25% (over 9 million people) still need access to HIV testing services. HIV testing is an essential gateway to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
- In 2017, 21.7 million people living with HIV (59%) were accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally, an increase of 2.3 million since 2016 and up from 8 million in 2010. HIV treatment access is key to the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat. People living with HIV who are aware of their status, take ART daily as prescribed, and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long, healthy lives. There is also a major prevention benefit. People living with HIV who adhere to HIV treatment and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
- AIDS-related deaths have been reduced by more than 51% since the peak in 2004. In 2017, 940 000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses worldwide, compared to 1.4 million in 2010 and 1.9 million in 2004.
- The vast majority of people living with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries.
- In 2017, there were 19.6 million people living with HIV (53%) in eastern and southern Africa, 6.1 million (16%) in western and central Africa, 5.2 million (14%) in Asia and the Pacific, and 2.2 million (6%) in Western and Central Europe and North America.
- Despite advances in our scientific understanding of HIV and its prevention and treatment as well as years of significant effort by the global health community and leading government and civil society organizations, too many people living with HIV or at risk for HIV still do not have access to prevention, care, and treatment, and there is still no cure. However, effective treatment with antiretroviral drugs can control the virus so that people with HIV can enjoy healthy lives and reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
- The HIV epidemic not only affects the health of individuals, it impacts households, communities, and the development and economic growth of nations. Many of the countries hardest hit by HIV also suffer from other infectious diseases, food insecurity, and other serious problems.
- Despite these challenges, there have been successes and promising signs. New global efforts have been mounted to address the epidemic, particularly in the last decade. The number of people newly infected with HIV has declined over the years. In addition, the number of people with HIV receiving treatment in resource-poor countries has dramatically increased in the past decade.
- Progress also has been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV and keeping mothers alive. In 2017, 80% [61– >95%] of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies, up from 47% in 2010.
- However, despite the availability of this widening array of effective HIV prevention tools and methods and a massive scale-up of HIV treatment in recent years, new infections among adults globally have not decreased sufficiently.
U.S. Response to the Global Epidemic
The U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. has supported a world safer and more secure from infectious disease threats. It has demonstrably strengthened the global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to new and existing risks—which ultimately enhances global health security and protects America’s borders.
In addition, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) represents the largest public investment in HIV/AIDS research in the world. NIH is engaged in research around the globe to understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent HIV infection and its many associated conditions, and to find a cure.
Read more about the U.S. Government’s global HIV/AIDS activities.