14 facts about the AIDS epidemic you need to know

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Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

Thirty years ago, HIV/AIDS swept the globe largely unchecked, and a diagnosis was seen as a death sentence. Two decades later, we’ve made amazing progress – AIDS-related deaths are down by half – but the good news makes the bad news worse.

This good news may be hiding a big problem. The incredible progress the world has made against AIDS has created a sense of complacency that is threatening our ability to end AIDS within our lifetime.

You might not know it from watching the news or listening to lawmakers, but AIDS is still a crisis. Nearly 37 million people are living with HIV today, and more than 15 million of them still can’t get life-saving treatment. This is something we can change, but it will take leadership.

These stats show the true scale of the AIDS epidemic, and why world leaders must take action to make this a disease of the past.


  • Around 37 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. That’s nearly the entire population of Canada.
  • Around 35 million people have died from HIV/AIDS since the start of the epidemic. That’s the same as the entire population of Morocco.
  • Nearly 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2017. That’s more than 2,500 people dying from AIDS-related causes every day.
  • AIDS is the number 1 killer of women under 50.
  • Nearly 1,000 young women are infected with HIV every day. That’s 40 women every hour.
  • Only about half of children living with HIV/AIDS are receiving treatment. Last year, 180,000 children were infected with HIV during birth or breastfeeding — the first time that new pediatric infections have not fallen since they peaked in 2002.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for nearly 65% of new infections globally. 1.2 million people were infected with HIV in the region in 2017.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for over 70% of deaths globally. Over 650,000 people died in the region in 2017.
  • 282,000 young women (age 15-24) were infected with HIV in 2017 – that’s over 750 a day.
  • Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are twice as likely to be infected with HIV than young men.

The good news

  • Globally, more than 21 million people were receiving lifesaving treatment at the end of 2017, up from 11 million in 2012. That’s a 91% increase.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, 14.6 million people were receiving lifesaving treatment at the end of 2017, up from 7.7 million in 2012. That’s a 90% increase.
  • Globally, 1.8 million people became infected with HIV in 2017 – down from 2 million in 2013. That’s a 10% decrease.
  • In the last 15 years, the cost of antiretroviral treatment for one person has dropped from US$10,000 a year to US$75 a year — an all-time low.

France will host a Global Fund Replenishment Conference in October 2019 – meetings that aim to raise new funds and mobilise partners. It will provide a great opportunity for governments, businesses, and health organisations to recommit to the fight to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It must be a turning point, anything less will be an indictment of our global leadership.

We know what to do, we know how to do it, and we know if we don’t move faster than the virus, then it will win. AIDS isn’t done. And neither are we.

Add your name now to tell world leaders they must back this bold initiative this year.

Sign now: we demand more action in the fight against AIDS

Dear government and business leaders,

We're urging you to show ambition in ending AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. This is a fight we can win – but only if we all do our part. I’m in, are you? Please fully finance the Global Fund to help save another 16 million lives and bring us closer to eliminating these diseases for good.

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