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Key affected populations, HIV and AIDS

People who belong to key affected populations (KAPs) are people who, for one reason or another, are more vulnerable to HIV infection.

This could be because they engage in high-risk behaviours such as injecting drugs, or because they are marginalised by society and fearful of accessing HIV services.

An effective response to the HIV epidemic requires that these groups are targeted by HIV prevention programmes with information and services that are specific to them.

Next full review: 
14 February 2020
Close up head shot of 2 men smiling
Homosexual acts are illegal in more than a third of countries, preventing men who have sex with men (MSM) from accessing HIV services.
Drug abuse with people sharing same needle and syringes
14% of all people who inject drugs are living with HIV. People who inject drugs are repeatedly denied access to harm reduction programmes.
An Indian sex worker hides behind her veil
Sex workers are 12 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population and are difficult for HIV services to reach.
A man behind a fence
Incarceration increases HIV vulnerability, especially when prisoners engage in high risk behaviours like injecting drugs.
Transgender women
Being transgender is strongly associated with stigma and discrimination. Transgender people also lack access to tailored HIV services.
Malawian woman
Women are often vulnerable to HIV due to unequal gender relations which affects their ability to negotiate condom use.
three children by a swing
160,000 children became infected with HIV in 2016, the majority of which were from mother-to-child during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Young people at school
Young people are a priority for HIV prevention messages because it’s most effective to change behaviour before sexual debut.
Smiling man on crutches
There is growing evidence that people people with disabilities are likely to be at higher risk of HIV infection than able-bodied people.

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Last updated:
16 March 2017
Next full review:
14 February 2020