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Global HIV & AIDS Epidemic

Ensuring everyone knows their HIV status is a key step to reducing the global HIV epidemic

Over 78 million people have been infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic in the early 1980s. 1 In 2012, AIDS-related illness were the 6th leading cause of death worldwide. 2

HIV statistics for the end of 2013 indicate that around 35 million people are currently living with HIV worldwide, 38 percent less than in 2001. 3 In the same year, around 2.1 million people became infected with HIV and 1.5 million died of AIDS-related illnesses. HIV and AIDS are found in all parts of the world, however some areas are more affected than others.

A global challenge

Although it is known how to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, too few people have access to appropriate HIV services. In 2013, only 13.6 million people were on treatment, equating to 38 percent of adults in need of treatment, and 24 percent of children. 4

The theme for World AIDS Day 2014, from UNAIDS - 'close the gap' - highlighted the gap between people who have access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services, and those who do not. Currently, 19 million of the 35 million people living with HIV worldwide do not know their status. Involving everyone in the global response to HIV is vital to ending the epidemic. 5

Despite these challenges, access to HIV prevention programmes as well as testing, treatment and care services has increased significantly in recent years, particularly in resource-poor countries.

Topics in the Global Epidemic section

Explore these global HIV and AIDS epidemic topics to find out about:

We also have detailed information about how HIV impacts upon key affected populations, including:


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