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HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa

HIV remains a long term development challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. While the number of new HIV infections has fallen, HIV prevalence is still extremely high in some countries.

There has been considerable political and financial commitment to fighting the epidemic in this region which has seen a dramatic scaling up of prevention, treatment and care services.

However, many countries in this region are still reliant on donor funding to finance their HIV response.

Next full review: 
14 October 2019
70% of all people living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa. Treatment programmes must now keep up with 2013 WHO treatment guidelines.
Botswana has made great progress in reducing HIV prevalence through the provision of universal free antiretroviral treatment.
Kenya has the joint fourth largest HIV epidemic in the world but is a pioneer of voluntary medical male circumcision programmes.
Lesotho has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world at 22.9%, but treatment coverage still remains inadequate.
Over the past decade, new HIV infections have dropped significantly in Malawi. However, young people remain a concern.
HIV prevalence is relatively low in Nigeria but its large population means that 3.2 million people are living with HIV.
Despite having the world's biggest HIV epidemic with 6.3 million people infected, South Africa now fully funds its HIV programmes.
Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence in the world (27.4%). This is largely due to cultural beliefs which discourage safe-sex practices.
In Tanzania, access to HIV treatment is low because of drug costs, a lack of healthcare workers and high levels of corruption.
Treatment programmes have been scaled up in Uganda, but access remains low. Punitive laws also act as barriers to HIV services.
Unprotected heterosexual sex and mother-to-child transmission are the primary modes of HIV infection in Zambia.
HIV has impacted heavily upon Zimbabwe which has a low average life expectancy and nearly a million children orphaned by AIDS.

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Last updated:
16 March 2017
Next full review:
14 October 2019