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Global HIV and AIDS statistics

Graphic showing 36.7 million people living with HIV globally 30% don't know their status

2016 global HIV statistics

HIV continues to be a major global public health issue. In 2016, an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV (including 1.8 million children) – with a global HIV prevalence of 0.8% among adults.1 2 Around 30% of these same people do not know that they have the virus.3

Since the start of the epidemic, an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses. In 2016, 1 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.4

The vast majority of people living with HIV are located in low- and middle- income countries, with an estimated 25.5 million living in sub-Saharan Africa. Among this group 19.4 million are living in East and Southern Africa which saw 44% of new HIV infections globally in 2016.5

Number of people living with HIV 2016

New infections

In 2016, there were roughly 1.8 million new HIV infections - a decline from 2.1 million new infections in 2015.6

There has previously been concern that the annual number of new infections among adults would remain static, as incidence rates failed to shift between 2010 and 2015. However, a slightly more positive trend is emerging as new infections among adults are now estimated to have declined by 11% - and 16% for the general population - between 2010 and 2016, whereas there was only an 8% decline between 2010 and 2015.7

While new HIV infections among children globally have halved, from 300,000 in 2010 to 160,000 in 2016 (47%), reports indicate that there is much more that needs to be done to improve knowledge of HIV and HIV testing among adolescents and young adults. Young women are especially at risk, with 59% of new infections among young people aged 15-24 occurring among this group.8

Moreover, despite the progress made across the 69 countries which witnessed a decline in new infections, UNAIDS warned that progress in combating viral transmission is still not happening fast enough to meet global targets.9

We are sounding the alarm. Entire regions are falling behind, the huge gains we made for children are not being sustained, women are still most affected and key populations continue to be ignored. All these elements are halting progress and urgently need to be addressed head on.

- Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS

A closer comparison of country data shows huge discrepancies in efforts to slow the spread of new infections. Some countries have achieved a decline of 50% or more in new HIV infections among adults over the last 10 years, while many have made no measurable progress. 10

Yet some countries are still experiencing worrying increases in new HIV infections.11 Since 2010, the annual number of new infections in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, for example, has climbed by an alarming 60%.12

New HIV infections since 2010 to 2017


Despite challenges, new global efforts have meant that the number of people receiving HIV treatment has increased dramatically in recent years, particularly in resource-poor countries.

A major milestone was achieved in 2016 where, for the first time, it was found that more than half of all people living with HIV (53%) now have access to life-saving treatment.13

In 2016, 19.5 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) - up from 17million in June 2016 and 7.5 million in 2010. If this level of treatment scale up continues, it is estimated that the world will meet its global target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020.14

Significant progress has also been made in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). In 2016, 76% of all pregnant women living with HIV accessed treatment to prevent HIV transmission to their babies – this is up from 47% in 2010 but a small decline by 1% from the previous year.15

Number of people on ART treatment 2016

HIV and tuberculosis

Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for around one in three AIDS-related deaths. However, some progress had been made with tuberculosis-related deaths among people living with HIV declining by one third since 2007. 16


The plateau in global funding and resource availability towards the HIV and AIDS response continued for its third consecutive year in 2016, with just US$ 19 billion invested among low- and middle- income countries.17

Where international budgets have previously been insufficient, most countries have generally provided a strong source of domestic investment - increasing on average of 11% from 2006 to 2016. However, this rate of domestic investment has recently slowed to just a 5% increase between 2015 and 2016.18

The United Nations General Assembly maintains its commitment suggestions that  US$ 23.9 billion will be required for the response to the epidemic in 2020, with US$ 23.9 billion required in 2030.19

We live in fragile times, where gains can be easily reversed. The biggest challenge to moving forward is complacency.

- Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS

Last full review: 
23 August 2017
Next full review: 
20 August 2020

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Last updated:
20 July 2018
Last full review:
23 August 2017
Next full review:
20 August 2020