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Worldwide HIV statistics


Rates of HIV infection vary enormously across the world and where you live does make a difference.

Global statistics

By the end of 2014, an estimated 36.9 million people were living with HIV worldwide, up by 24% from 2001. This is the result of both the continued large number of new HIV infections and a significant expansion of access to antiretroviral therapy, which has helped reduce AIDS-related deaths, especially in the last few years. At least part of the large number of new infections is due to increased access to testing.

At the beginning of 2015, 13.5 million people from low- and middle-income countries were receiving ART. This is an increase of 2 million people from 2011, when 36% of those in low- and middle-income countries eligible to start ART were receiving treatment.

New HIV Infections and AIDS-related deaths

There were 2 million new HIV infections in 2014, nearly 41% less than in 2001.The number of people becoming infected with HIV is continuing to fall generally but more rapidly in some countries than in others. HIV rates have fallen by 50% or more in 26 countries since 2001. There have been significant reductions in areas such as the Caribbean and amongst new-born children. However there have also been substantial increases in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, and in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

The number of AIDS-related deaths fell to 1.2 million in 2014, down 48% from a peak of 2.3 million in 2005. An estimated 34 million people worldwide have died of AIDS-related illnesses since the beginning of the epidemic. Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be most common cause of death among people living with HIV .

Where you live makes a difference

The number of people with HIV has risen in every region of the world in the past decade, with the highest concentration of the pandemic still in Africa but with the largest increases in new diagnoses being seen in East Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In terms of overall prevalence, around five per cent of all people in sub-Saharan Africa have HIV and by comparison, the second highest prevalence area, the Caribbean, had just under one per cent.

  1. Africa
  2. East Europe/Central Asia
  3. Other
  4. Women and children


With an estimated 25.4 million people living with HIV in 2015, sub-Saharan Africa still remains the region most heavily affected by the epidemic. In 2014 about 69% of all people living with HIV globally resided in sub-Saharan Africa, a region with only 12% of the global population. Sub-Saharan Africa also accounted for 70% of new HIV infections in 2014, although there was a significant fall in the rate of new infections.

The epidemic continues to be most severe in southern Africa, with South Africa having more people living with HIV (around 6.8 million) than any other country in the world.

In 2013 there were an estimated 1.5 million new HIV infections -- a drop of 33% since 2005. Almost half of the deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in 2012 occurred in southern Africa. AIDS has claimed at least one million lives annually in sub-Saharan Africa since 1998. However, since then, AIDS-related deaths have steadily decreased, as free HIV treatment has become more widely available in the region.

East Europe/Central Asia

The largest increases in HIV rates in the last decade have been seen in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In 2014 the European region reported the highest number of new HIV infections (142,000) since records began. This growth is mainly due to rates in the Eastern European countries where the number of new HIV infections has doubled during the past decade.

Russia and the Ukraine make up most of the region's epidemic with injecting drug use the leading cause of HIV infection.

In contrast to most other regions, AIDS-related deaths continue to rise in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.


Looking at high-income countries, the total number of people living with HIV in North America and Western and Central Europe reached an estimated 2.3 million in 2013. More than half of all people with HIV in these regions live in the United States of America.

Despite universal access to treatment, care and support and widespread awareness, the epidemic in North America and Western and Central Europe is persistent and HIV incidence has changed little since 2004.

However, the number of AIDS-related deaths remains low and has varied little since 2000, despite the increase in the number of people living with HIV.

Women and children

While HIV in Western Europe and the UK disproportionately affects gay men, across the globe women are often just as vulnerable to HIV. Half (50%) of all the people living with HIV worldwide in 2014 were women and in sub-Saharan Africa this proportion rises to 58%. In some countries, particularly in Africa, HIV prevalence among women is estimated to be twice that amongst men. Of the people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries with access to antiretroviral therapy, 68% were women. Initiatives to prevent violence against women, improve women’s rights and increase access to contraception will all be essential in tackling the female HIV epidemic.

There are an estimated 3.7 million children living with HIV worldwide, 91% of which live in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, there were 170,000 new infections of HIV in children. This is a decrease of 48% since 2009.

Of children living with HIV who are eligible for treatment, 72% do not have access. There are currently 15.7 million children who are known to be AIDS-related orphans, and millions more not recorded in India, China and Russia. The number of deaths related to AIDS in children peaked in 2004-5 and is now slowly declining.



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 14/3/2016 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 31/1/2017

Content Author: S. Paparini

Current Owner: Policy and Information

More information:

UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report (2012)

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