Published on Data Blog

Three charts that explain AIDS in 2015

Today is World Aids Day - an annual event to raise awareness about the global fight against HIV. Earlier this year, a report from UNAIDS declared that the Millennium Development Goal 6 target of “halting and reversing the spread of HIV” had been met, but that continued effort and financing would be needed to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goal 3.

When it comes to international data about HIV and AIDS, the cross-organisational UNAIDS program publishes age and gender-disaggregated data on indicators such as prevalence, new infections and deaths. In turn, we incorporate some of these data into the World Development Indicators.

Here are some highlights from the most recently available data:

Globally, 37 million adults and children live with HIV 

In 2014, there were an estimated 36.9 million adults and children living with HIV in the world. The majority of these people are in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. As you can see from the decreasing slope of the “global” line - while people continue to become infected, the rate of new infections is going down.

The worldwide rate of new HIV infections has fallen 35% since 2000 

Worldwide, 2 million adults and children became newly infected with HIV in 2014 - that’s down 35% from 3.1 million in 2000. The numbers are even more promising among children - 220,000 children were infected with HIV in 2014 which is down almost 60% from the figure in 2000 . This is real progress: an ongoing reduction in the rate of new infections will lead to a decrease in the number of people living with and dying from HIV.

AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% to 1.2 million since their peak in 2004 

In 2014, 1.2 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide  - a 42% reduction from the peak of 2.0 million in 2004. According to the WHO there are two main causes for this decline: the increased availability of antiretroviral therapy (ARV) and associated care for those living with HIV; and fewer people newly infected with HIV since the peak in 1997.

Note that in the three charts above, I’ve used the UN regional country aggregations - the World Bank aggregates countries into regions differently and we don’t include some series in the World Development Indicators. I also excluded regions in the charts above where there have been relatively low HIV numbers since 1990 - you can still see them in the data via the links within the charts.

Challenges for ending AIDS by 2030

These are some highlights I picked up from the UNAIDS fact sheet. There are several other things I’d be interested in knowing more about - in particular the forecasts for the above figures through to 2030, but I couldn't immediately find the data for them.
As David and Marelize argued in their earlier blog, the HIV epidemic can be controlled if we can successfully do four things: (i) sustain international HIV financing; (ii) increase domestic HIV financing; (iii) improve efficiency; and (iv) harness innovation in science and technology.  


Tariq Khokhar

Global Data Editor & Senior Data Scientist

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