On Tuesday, December 1, the global community will observe the 33rd annual World AIDS Day (WAD). This year’s theme for WAD in the U.S. is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact.” This theme is especially relevant, because “COVID-19 has not only forced us to adapt our response to HIV/AIDS in communities to ensure continuity of services, but also reinforced the urgency of ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and around the world,” according to Angeli Achrekar, principal deputy U.S. global AIDS coordinator for the U.S. State Department.
To help you and your patients or clients prepare for and commemorate World AIDS Day, we have compiled overviews of the global and U.S. HIV epidemic, plus lists of online resources focusing on the epidemic at the global and national levels.
The Global HIV Epidemic
According to UNAIDS, about 38.0 million people were living with HIV worldwide during 2019 – the latest year for which data are available. Of this total, about 36.2 million were adults (aged 15 years and older), and 1.8 million were children. Substantial progress has been made to reduce the number of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths and to increase the number of people receiving effective antiretroviral treatment (ART).
- An estimated 1.7 million people worldwide were newly infected with HIV. The annual number of new infections has declined about 16% globally since 2010, and 40% since 1997.
- About 690,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses. Global AIDS-related deaths have fallen 39% since 2010, and 60% from the peak of about 1.7 million in 2004.
- Globally, tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV – accounting for about one-third of all AIDS-related deaths.
- An estimated 85% of pregnant women living with HIV had access to ART to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.
- Continuum of HIV Care: In 2019, an estimated 81% of people living with HIV globally knew their HIV status. Among people who knew their status, (82%) were accessing ART. And among those accessing treatment, an estimated 88% were virally suppressed.
Selected Resources About the Global Epidemic
UNAIDS Website – This website includes information about HIV/AIDS policies and programs, regional information, global statistics, and news. Highlights include the following pages and recent reports:
- Progress Reports by Country
- UNAIDS Strategy: 2016-2021
- UNAIDS Data 2020
- Key Populations Atlas – This resource uses maps and tables to present available country-by-country HIV data for men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, transgender people, sex workers, and prisoners.
- AIDS by the Numbers – This 12-page report summarizes key statistics on the global epidemic in a series of colorful infographics.
- World AIDS Day 2020 – This brief report examines “how health is interlinked with other critical issues, such as reducing inequality, human rights, gender equality, social protection, and economic growth,” according to UNAIDS, as well as the importance of solidarity and shared responsibility.
Global HIV & Tuberculosis. This CDC web page includes statistics on HIV and TB, as well as U.S. efforts to help heavily affected nations respond effectively to both epidemics.
Kaiser Family Foundation Publications
- The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic
- Global HIV/AIDS Timeline
- The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
- The U.S. & The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria
- Donor Government Disbursements for HIV in 2018
- Donor Government Funding for HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in 2019
- PEPFAR Reauthorization: Side-by-Side of Legislation Over Time
The U.S. HIV Epidemic
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.18 million people were living with HIV in the U.S. at the end of 2018 – the latest year for which data are available. In 2018, 37,968 people received an HIV diagnosis in the U.S. and dependent areas. From 2014 through 2018, HIV diagnoses in the U.S. decreased about 7% overall. However, the rates of new diagnoses and trends in diagnoses over time varied substantially by race/ethnicity, transmission category, gender, age, and geographic region.
New HIV Diagnoses in 2018:
- Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 69% of all HIV diagnoses but comprised only 31% of the U.S. population.
- The breakdown in new HIV diagnoses by race/ethnicity were: 43% among Blacks/African Americans, 26% among Hispanics/Latinos, 26% among Whites, and 6% among all persons of all other race/ethnicities.
- Over two-thirds (69%) of these newly diagnosed infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact; 24% were attributed to heterosexual contact; and 7% were among people who inject drugs.
- By geographic region, more than half (51%) of all new diagnoses occurred in the South, while 20% occurred in the West, 15% in the Northeast, and 13% in the Midwest.
- HIV Infection rates per 100,000 population were more than twice as high in the South (15.6) than in the Midwest (7.2).
- Urban areas accounted for the vast majority of new diagnoses in all geographic regions. However, in the South and Midwest, nearly one-quarter of new diagnoses occurred in suburban or rural areas.
Trends in HIV Diagnoses from 2014 through 2018:
- HIV diagnoses dropped 8% among women overall and declined 7% among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) as a group.
- However, diagnoses increased 5% among transgender women, 6% among persons 25 to 34 years old, and 51% among White persons who inject drugs.
- Trends in HIV diagnoses among MSM varied widely by race/ethnicity, with a decline of 16% among Whites; relatively stable rates among Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans; and American Indians/Alaskan Natives; and an increase of 71% among Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders.
Trends in Death Rates:
- A newly released CDC report indicates that, between 2010 and 2017, the age-adjusted rate of HIV-related deaths among people with diagnosed HIV infection (PWDH) decreased 48%;
- During the same period, the rate of non-HIV-related deaths among PWDH also decreased by 9%.
Selected Resources About the U.S. Epidemic
Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America. In early 2019, the Trump Administration launched this plan to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. within 10 years. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the plan leverages “the powerful data and tools now available to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S. by 75% in five years and by 90% by 2030.” The program directs significant resources to 48 counties, Washington, D.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as 7 states that have a substantial rural HIV burden. In addition, the Plan’s four main strategies – diagnose, treat, protect, and respond – are to be implemented across the entire U.S. within 10 years.
CDC Reports and Fact Sheets About the U.S. Epidemic
- HIV in the United States: At A Glance. This focuses on key aspects of the U.S. epidemic with bulleted highlights and graphs.
- Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2018 (Updated) (129-page report). There is also an accompanying infographic summarizing highlights from the report.
- HIV in the United States by Region
- HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men
- HIV and African American Gay and Bisexual Men
- HIV and Hispanic/Latino Gay and Bisexual Men
- HIV and Transgender People
- HIV and Men
- HIV and Pregnant Women, Infants, and Children
- HIV and Women
- HIV and African Americans
- HIV and American Indians and Alaska Natives
- HIV and Asians
- HIV and Hispanics/Latinos
- HIV and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders
- HIV and Youth
- HIV and People Aged 50 and Older
- HIV and People Who Inject Drugs
- HIV and Sex Workers
- HIV and Economically Disadvantaged Persons