On December 1, the global community will observe the annual World AIDS Day (WAD). This year’s U.S. theme for WAD is: “Putting Ourselves to the Test: Achieving Equity to End HIV.” This theme emphasizes accountability and action in U.S. initiatives to end HIV, through an approach that centers on communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. “This year, we observe World AIDS Day in the context of two other infectious disease threats – COVID-19 and monkeypox – which have heavily impacted many of those same communities,” according to the HIV.gov website. “These epidemics have further highlighted that our public health response to HIV will require us to address health disparities holistically.”
The global theme for WAD is “Equalize” according to UNAIDS. “It is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS,” including:
- Increasing the availability, quality, and suitability of services for HIV treatment, testing, and prevention, so that everyone is well-served;
- reforming laws, policies, and practices to tackle the stigma and exclusion faced by people living with HIV and by key and marginalized populations, so that everyone is shown respect and is welcomed; and
- ensuring the sharing of technology to enable equal access to the best HIV science, between communities and between the Global South and North.
- Encouraging communities to identify and highlight the particular inequalities they face and to press for the actions needed to address them.
To help you and your patients or clients 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 38.4 million people were living with HIV worldwide during 2021 – the latest year for which data are available. Of this total, about 36.7 million were adults (aged 15 years and older), and 1.7 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 38.4 million people worldwide were living with HIV.
- An estimated 1.5 million people worldwide were newly infected with HIV. The annual number of new infections has declined about 53% since the peak of about 3.2 million in 1996.
- About 650,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses. Global AIDS-related deaths have fallen 54% since 2010, and 67% from the peak of about 2.0 million in 2004.
- An estimated 81% of pregnant women living with HIV had access to ART to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies.
- Continuum of HIV Care: In 2021, an estimated 85% of people living with HIV globally knew their HIV status, 75% were accessing ART, and 68% were virally suppressed.
Selected Resources About the Global Epidemic
World AIDS Day – This HIV.gov web page has links to many resources about World AIDS Day, including web pages and toolkits from several U.S. federal agencies, graphics, and information about the U.S. response to the HIV epidemic, both domestically and globally.
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:
- Global HIV & AIDS Statistics Fact Sheet
- Progress Reports by Country
- End Inequalities. End AIDS. Global AIDS Strategy: 2021-2026
- UNAIDS Data 2021
- Data for Impact: How UNAIDS Data Is Guiding the World to End AIDS
- Ending AIDS, Ending Inequalities: Fast-Track Cities
- Key Populations Atlas – This resource uses maps and tables to present available country-by-country HIV data for the following key affected populations: 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.
Global HIV & TB [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 Funding for HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Countries in 2021
- 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 1.2 million people were living with HIV in the U.S. in 2020. During that year, 30,635 people received an HIV diagnosis in the U.S. and dependent areas. From 2016 through 2019, HIV diagnoses in the U.S. decreased about 8% 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 2020:
- Blacks/African American and Hispanics/Latino people accounted for about 69% of all HIV diagnoses but comprised only 31% of the U.S. population.
- The breakdown in new HIV diagnoses by race/ethnicity were: 42% among Black/African American people, 27% among Hispanic/Latino people, 26% among White people, and about 6% among all persons of all other race/ethnicities.
- Over two-thirds (71%) of these newly diagnosed infections were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact; 22% were attributed to heterosexual contact; and 7% were among people who inject drugs.
- By geographic region, more than half (52%) of all new diagnoses occurred in the South, while 21% occurred in the West, 14% in the Northeast, and 14% in the Midwest.
- HIV Infection rates per 100,000 population were more than twice as high in the South (12.4) than in the Midwest (6.0).
Selected Resources About the U.S. Epidemic
National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States: 2022-2025 (White House) – The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) outlines the framework and direction for the Administration’s policies, research, programs, and planning through 2025 in an effort to end the U.S. HIV epidemic by 2030. According to the new NHAS’s vision statement, “The United States will be a place where new HIV infections are prevented, every person knows their status, and every person with HIV has high-quality care and treatment, lives free from stigma and discrimination, and can achieve their full potential for health and well-being across the lifespan. This vision includes all people, regardless of age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, geographic location, or socioeconomic circumstance.” Key features of the new NHAS are summarized on an HIV.gov web page, as well as a two-page fact sheet.
CDC Reports and Fact Sheets
- HIV in the United States and Dependent Areas: At A Glance. This focuses on key aspects of the U.S. epidemic with bulleted highlights and infographics.
- Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2020. This has the latest available data on new HIV diagnoses, HIV prevalence, and deaths in the U.S.
- HIV in the United States by Region
- HIV and All 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 Perinatal Transmission
- HIV and Women
- HIV and African American People
- HIV in the United States by Race/Ethnicity
- HIV and Hispanic/Latino People
- HIV in the United States by Age
- HIV and People Who Inject Drugs
- HIV Risk Among Persons Who Exchange Sex for Money or Nonmonetary Items
- HIV and Economically Disadvantaged Persons