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World AIDS Day: AIDS Facts and Figures

Reviewed by
Date published
01/12/2021
Date last updated
15/02/2022
Length of read
4 Minutes

To raise awareness this World AIDS Day, let's take a look at some must-know facts and figures surrounding HIV and AIDS. The more knowledge there is on the topic, the more we can work towards a world free of debilitating infections.

What Is HIV And AIDS?

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

HIV damages and destroys your CD4 cells (CD4 T lymphocyte), which are responsible for fighting viral infections. Without CD4 cells, your body will struggle to fight off infections and serious illnesses like cancer.

HIV can severely damage the immune system and progress to AIDS if it is not treated.

How Does HIV Spread?

When HIV is spread from one person to another, it is referred to as transmission. Only bodily fluids from a person who has HIV may transmit the virus - this is most typically done through unprotected sex or sharing drug equipment.

The transmission of HIV from a woman with the virus to her infant during pregnancy, childbirth, or nursing is known as perinatal transmission.

It's important to note that you cannot get HIV from hugging someone with HIV or touching an object that they have already touched.

What Are The Symptoms Of HIV And AIDS?

Some individuals may experience flu-like indicators such as fever, chills, or a rash within 2 to 4 weeks after contracting HIV. These symptoms of HIV can last anything from a few days to several weeks.

Night sweats, muscular pains, a sore throat, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes, and mouth ulcers are all possible indicators of a HIV infection. However, these symptoms do not always indicate that you have HIV. The same symptoms can be caused by a variety of illnesses.

Because the virus is able to replicate so quickly, it can go undetected for many years before causing obvious symptoms of AIDS. People with AIDS have weak immune systems that make them vulnerable to opportunistic diseases.

Infections In Numbers

Number of People with HIV

In 2020, there were approximately 37.6 million people living with HIV in the world. 35.9 million of these were adults, while 1.7 million were children under the age of 15 years.

New HIV Infections

In 2020, an estimated 1.5 million people worldwide became infected with HIV, a 30% drop from 2010. According to these statistics, of the new HIV infections:

  • 1.3 million were adults
  • 160,000 were children (under 15 years old)

Transmission & Death Rates

Mother-to-Child Transmission

In 2020, 84% of pregnant women with HIV were receiving antiretroviral treatments to keep their babies from contracting the virus through breast-feeding and childbirth.

AIDS-Related Deaths

The number of AIDS-related deaths fell by 61% between 2004 and 2012. The worldwide death toll from AIDS has decreased by more than 1.2 million people since 2010.

Around The Globe

Regional Impact

The majority of persons living with HIV are found in low- and middle-income nations. In 2020, research showed that there were:

  • Eastern and Southern Africa: approximately 20.6 million persons living with HIV (55%)
  • Western and Central Africa: 4.7 million (13%)
  • Asia and the Pacifica: 5.7 million (15%)
  • Western and Central Europe and North America: 2.2 million (6%)

Testing & Treatment

HIV Testing

In 2020, approximately 84% of people with HIV in the world were aware of their status. The remaining 16% (about 6.0 million persons) require access to HIV testing kits or services, despite the fact that they are aware of their status. HIV testing is a necessary step in preventing, treating, and managing the disease.

HIV Treatment Rates

According to the World Health Organization, as of the end of 2020, 27.4 million (73%) of individuals with HIV were getting antiretroviral therapy (ART). That leaves 10.2 million people on the waiting list. HIV treatment access is critical to the worldwide effort to end AIDS as a public health concern.

People who are aware of their HIV status, take ART as directed on a daily basis, and maintain an undetectable viral load have very little chance of sexually passing on the virus to their HIV-negative partners.

Data collected from HIV.gov.