HIV/AIDS in the World

  • During the last two years of COVID-19 and other global crises, progress in prevention and treatment has diminished to the point where urgent action is needed to address the inequalities driving AIDS and prevent millions of new HIV acquisitions and millions of AIDS-related deaths.
  • In 2021, 1.5 million individuals newly acquired HIV, bringing the global total to 38.4 million people living with HIV (PLWH). While 85% of PLWH were aware of their status in 2021, approximately 5.9 million people did not know they were living with HIV.
Adults and Children estimated to be living with HIV

New acquisitions

  • New HIV acquisitions (1.5 million) declined only 3.6% in 2021 compared to 2020, the smallest annual decrease since 2016. Overall, new infections have decreased by 54% since the peak in 1996.
  • UNAIDS points out that, if not stalled, the current rate of HIV infection—4,100 people, including 1,100 young people, every day—will result in 1.2 million newly infected people in 2025, tripling the target that UNAIDS has set for that year.

AIDS-related deaths

  • Annual deaths from AIDS-related causes dropped from 680,000 in 2020 to 650,000 in 2021. However, the number translates into one death every minute.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, 84.2 million people have acquired HIV and 40.1 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses.
  • Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have declined by 57% among women and girls and by 47% among men and boys.

Acess to treatment

  • 28.7 million people (75% of all PLWH) were accessing antiretroviral therapy by the end of December 2021, an increase from 7.8 million in 2010.
  • In 2021, 81% of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral treatment to prevent transmission of HIV to their child.
  • Along the continuum of care, 85% of PLWH knew their status in 2021. Among those who knew their status, 88% had accessed antiretroviral therapy. Among those accessing treatment, 92% had achieved viral suppression.

Access to PrEP

  • Though the COVID-19 pandemic created some interruptions in PrEP uptake, oral PrEP use continued to increase: Roughly 1.6 million people in at least 86 countries received the HIV prevention tool at least once in 2021.
  • Uptake strategies such as multi-month dispensing, virtual demand creation activities, and decentralized, community-based and virtual service delivery have been put into place; at the same time, there has been a 157% increase in individuals starting PrEP in 21 countries between April 2020 and March 2021, when compared to the same period a year earlier. Across those 21 countries (most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa), the number of people on PrEP increased from just over 233,000 in the year before the COVID-19 pandemic to almost 600,000 in the first year of the pandemic.

HIV Among Key Populations

  • Approximately 70% of new HIV infections globally in 2020 were among key populations [men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs, sex workers, and transgender people] and their sexual partners.
  • Infections among members of key populations accounted for 94% of new infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa and 51% of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • MSM are 28 times more likely to acquire HIV than adult men in the general population.
  • People who inject drugs are 35 times more likely to acquire HIV than those who do not.
  • Female sex workers are 30 times more likely to acquire HIV than adult women in the general population.
  • Transgender women are 14 times more likely to acquire HIV than adult women in the general population.
  • People who are incarcerated are five times more likely to be living with HIV than adults in the general population.

HIV Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women

  • Adolescent women and girls (15 to 24 years) continue to face health disparities. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, six in seven new HIV acquisitions among adolescents ages 15-19 are among girls. In this same region, 63% of all new HIV acquisitions in 2021 were among women and girls.
  • Globally, in 2021, a new acquisition occurred every two minutes among adolescent women and girls, who account for 49% of all new acquisitions (and 54% of all PLWH).

HIV Among Adult Women

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the epidemic of domestic violence against women severely increased, compounding a long existing problem. Based on data from 2000-2018, global estimates state that more than one in 10 ever-married or partnered women ages 15 to 49 experienced intimate partner violence within the last year.
  • In 2021, around 81% of pregnant women living with HIV received antiretroviral medicines to prevent the transmission of HIV to their children.

HIV Among Children

  • Approximately, 160,000 children (under 15) newly acquired HIV in 2021 globally, with the most impacted regions being eastern and southern Africa (78,000), western and central Africa (54,000), and Asia and the Pacific (14,000).
  • In 2021, an estimated 98,000 children died of AIDS-related causes.
  • In total, roughly 1.7 million children were living with HIV in 2021.

The Regional Picture (2021)

Eastern and southern Africa

  • People living with HIV: 20.6 million
  • New acquisitions: 670,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 280,000
  • People accessing treatment: 16.2 million
  • In 2021, 63% of this region’s new HIV infections were among women and girls

Asia and the Pacific

  • People living with HIV: 6.0 million
  • New acquisitions: 260,00
  • AIDS-related deaths: 140,000
  • People accessing treatment: 4.0 million
  • In 2021, 86% of individuals who knew their HIV-positive status were accessing treatment

Western and Central Africa

  • People living with HIV: 5.0 million
  • New acquisitions: 190,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 140,000
  • People accessing treatment: 3.9 million
  • In 2021, 74% of this region’s new HIV infections were among key populations and their sex partners

Latin America

  • People living with HIV: 2.2 million
  • New acquisitions: 110,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 29,000
  • People accessing treatment: 1.5 million
  • In this region, 27% of women have experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime

The Caribbean

  • People living with HIV: 330,000
  • New acquisitions: 14,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 5,700
  • People accessing treatment: 230,000
  • In this region, six countries included daily oral PrEP in their national guidelines

Middle East and North Africa

  • People living with HIV: 180,000
  • New acquisitions: 14,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 5,100
  • People accessing treatment: 88,000
  • From 2010 to 2021, this region saw an increase in new infections by 33%

Eastern Europe and central Asia

  • People living with HIV: 1.8 million
  • New acquisitions: 160,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 44,000
  • People accessing treatment: 930,000
  • This region has seen a 48% increase in new infections since 201

Western and central Europe and North America

  • People living with HIV: 2.3 million
  • New acquisitions: 63,000
  • AIDS-related deaths: 13,000
  • People accessing treatment: 1.9 million
  • This region has seen a 14% decrease in new HIV diagnoses in 2021 compared to 2019


UNAIDS Global AIDS Update 2022
UNAIDS Global HIV & AIDS Statistics Fact Sheet