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Latin America HIV & AIDS Statistics

In this page Latin America refers to the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Belize, Guyana and Suriname are discussed on the Caribbean statistics page, in alignment with UNAIDS' regional classification. UNAIDS 2012 data was unavailable for French Guiana. 1

HIV & AIDS statistics

It is estimated that among 18 reporting countries in the Latin American region (not including Mexico), there were approximately 1.4 million people living with HIV and AIDS at the end of 2011. 2 Of these, an estimated 83 ,000 were newly infected during 2011 and an estimated 60 ,000 people died of AIDS.

In Mexico, an estimated 180,000 people were living with HIV in 2011. 3 During this year, it is estimated that 9,900 people were newly infected with HIV and that 4,900 people died of AIDS.

Adult HIV prevalence is 0.8% or less in all Latin American countries as of 2011. In most countries HIV is not generalised but is highly concentrated in populations at particular risk. Overall, the average adult HIV prevalence across central and south America is estimated at 0.4%. 4

Transmission routes

Unsafe sex among men who have sex with men (MSM) is common across the whole region. In 2011, the HIV prevalence range was between 7% (Nicaragua and Honduras) and 23% (Panama) among men who have sex with men in central and south American countries. 5 Condom use among MSM varies significantly across the region; from 46% in Uruguay to 80% in Guatemala. 6

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 men who have sex with men in central America also have sex with women. 7 A 2010 study of 624 MSM in the capital city of El Salvador found that 49.6% had had sex with a woman at least once and that 34.1% had had sex with a woman in the last year. 8 Condom use among these MSM was also low with less than half reporting condom use at last sex with a woman.

In recent years, prevention efforts have specifically targeted female sex workers and in 2011 reports of condom use were above 65% in all reporting countries, and as high as 99% in Argentina. 9 Whilst data is widely unavailable for male sex workers, five countries did report condom use in 2009 ranging between 45% in Mexico and 91% in Guatemala. 10

The transmission of HIV through the sharing of drug injecting equipment is still a feature of the epidemic in Latin America. There are an estimated 2 million injecting drug users (IDUs) in central and south America and more than a quarter may be infected with HIV. 11 Nevertheless, harm reduction is severely limited. Only 5 Latin American countries provide needle exchanges and among these, the number of clean needles and syringes distributed per IDU, per year is far below the recommended coverage level. 12

HIV prevalence among young people fell by 20% between 2001 and 2011, and 33% among young males. 13 To have reduced HIV transmission in this high-risk age group shows that HIV education and prevention strategies are working.

Provision of antiretrovirals

It is estimated that in 2011, across low and middle income countries in Latin America, an average of 68% of people requiring antiretroviral treatment are receiving it. 14 

Based on the new treatment guidelines released in 2010, Mexico is the only country in the region to have achieved universal access (at least 80% treatment coverage) to antiretroviral treatment. There are five countries (Bolivia, Columbia, Honduras, Panama and Uraguay) yet to reach 50% access to treatment. 15

Whilst many countries have increased access to HIV treatment, large disparities exist throughout the region. On average, antiretroviral treatment is more accessible in south America than in central America. However, access to treatment is most limited in one south American country - Bolivia, with only 15% of individuals in need of HIV treatment receiving it. 16 features further discussion of treatment and other issues connected with HIV & AIDS in Latin America.

Estimated HIV and AIDS prevalence and deaths due to AIDS, end 2011

CountryLiving with HIV/AIDSDeaths due to
AIDS during 2011
All peopleAdult (15-49)
rate %
Costa Rica8,8000.3<500
El Salvador24,0000.6<500


It should be noted that the above figures are estimates and are made with a large degree of uncertainty. For example, the number of people living with HIV in Peru lies in the range 38,000 to 200,000.



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Saturday, 1 December, 2012

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