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27+ Dreadful Statistics And Facts About HIV (2023)

Last modified: Mar 23, 2023

Learn the newest HIV statistics, including the number of people affected by this horrible disease and the measures doctors take to battle it.

An Introduction to Global HIV Statistics

For many years, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, also known as HIV, has affected millions of people throughout the world. To put things into perspective, HIV represents the leading cause of AIDS, a disease that is characterized by prolonged damage to the immune system, thus making it easier for patients to catch a variety of diseases.

HIV is transmitted via blood and during sex, yet protection methods are luckily available to reduce its spread. Below, readers will get to learn more about the condition through a variety of AIDS statistics.

At the moment, there are numerous misconceptions about HIV and AIDS, but we are here to disperse them. This article is meant to explain better the main facts and statistics associated with the virus. All the data we present here comes from reputable sources.

To kick things off, it is important to mention that a weakened immune system makes treating and catching diseases more difficult. As such, according to WHO HIV statistics and facts, the AIDS/HIV does not represent a direct cause of death but rather weakens the body, thus making it unable to fight infections that wouldn’t normally be life-threatening. This leads to the high number of deaths that we are already accustomed to, caused by a variety of associated diseases.

Based on these aspects, this article will list several HIV statistics on a variety of subjects, including, but not limited to, how common HIV is, the demographics of AIDS, transmission rates, and more.

The main purpose of this article is to facilitate education and awareness concerning HIV/AIDS to ensure that the number of infections continues to decrease. The article also highlights several market opportunities worth keeping in mind by healthcare professionals.

Most Upsetting HIV Statistics – 2020


How Many People Have AIDS?

Approximately 38 million people worldwide are living with AIDS/HIV.

While these numbers might seem huge, it is important to note that today, infection rates have dropped considerably. While this trend continues, it is important to ensure that individuals who are already infected have access to proper healthcare solutions.

Despite this aspect, according to research carried out by UNAIDS, it seems that approximately 38 million people are living with the disease at the moment, which is a worrying HIV statistic.

1.8 million children worldwide are currently infected with HIV.

This grim statistic showcases the number of children who are currently infected with the virus. It is essential to mention that most of these children have been infected by their own mothers during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or childbirth.

As such, we can see one of the main secondary effects associated with the disease – the inability to give birth and breastfeed children without putting them at risk of infection.

That said, the first two statistics allow us to give a brief answer to the question of how common is HIV. Luckily, compared to other diseases, HIV is not too widespread, granted that safety precautions can be taken to reduce the chance of infection to practically 0.

Even so, there were times when HIV transmission rates reached worrying highs. Thus, it is essential to counter transmission cases for children, since they have virtually no defense against the disease before being born.

Eswatini Has the Highest Prevalence of HIV With 27% of the Population Affected

HIV is among the leading causes of death in Eswatini. UNICEF reported that 27% of all 15- to 59-year old individuals are affected, making it the most HIV infected country in the world. On the bright side, the rate of new infections has been declining over the past 5-years while the rate of new infections among those aged 18- to 49-years old remains stable at 1.4%.
To counter this, comprehensive life skills/sex education programs are being provided as part of secondary education. The progress is really slow, however, because secondary-aged children are still in primary school.

How Many People Have Died From AIDS?

Roughly 690,000 people died indirectly of AIDS in 2019.

This statistic is important because it showcases that AIDS does not represent a direct cause of death. It’s rather the deficient immune system that is the main culprit, granted that a weak immune system is no longer capable of fighting disease and infection.

According to UNAIDS, an error margin must be taken into account. Hence, the real numbers are situated between 500,000 and 970,000.

Global HIV Statistics

In 2019, roughly 25.4 million people worldwide used antiretroviral therapy, meant to battle the symptoms of AIDS.

This allows us to determine better the number of people who are currently seeking treatment for this condition. It is, however, important to note that a direct treatment for HIV/AIDS does not exist at the moment. The therapies prescribed by medics are mostly useful in strengthening the immune system, yet they do not heal AIDS. Luckily, reports indicate that AIDS deaths per year are decreasing, thanks to the use of antiretroviral therapy.

However, important medical advancements were made recently. Therefore, it is likely that in the next couple of years, better therapies will be available for patients. Current research also points towards a future anti-HIV vaccine, which would play an important role in helping eradicate the virus once and for all, according to AIDS statistics.

It is estimated that 36.2 million adults and 1.8 million children are currently infected with HIV across the world.

We notice that the virus is less spread amongst children, who usually catch it from their infected mothers in the womb and during breastfeeding. In the case of pregnant women, following the prescribed medical therapy is the best way to reduce how many people have AIDS. It is important to note that results depend from case to case, so no pregnant woman infected with AIDS should proceed with her pregnancy without taking medication.

In the case of infected adults, practicing safe sex and informing their partners about the medical condition is essential. In most countries, intentional HIV transmission via sexual intercourse is a punishable offense.

Surprisingly, only 81% of people living with HIV were aware of their condition in 2019, thus influencing overall HIV transmission statistics as well.

As such, this statistic showcases that AIDS disease does not normally show symptoms immediately. Additionally, it also proves that many people are generally unaware of their current health status, whereas others refuse to seek medical treatment due to poverty, lack of health clinics, or improper education.

Roughly 7.2 million people did not know they were infected with HIV in 2019, according to HIV/AIDS statistics.

Only 62% of people with HIV worldwide were seeking medical treatment.

Despite being aware of their medical condition, around 38% of people decide not to seek medical attention for their HIV infection. As mentioned above, this is typically due to expensive healthcare, lack of healthcare, or lack of education over what to do in case of a disease. Therefore, this can influence other statistics on HIV.

Worldwide, the rate of deaths caused by AIDS has been reduced by over 55% since 2004.

As we can see, the access to healthcare alongside treatment plans have both improved, reducing the number of people who die from an AIDS-related cause on a yearly basis. This statistic is much better than stats from 2004, when the world saw one of the biggest epidemics of HIV/AIDS. Therefore, the question of how common is HIV will no longer receive the epidemic status.

Since 2010, AIDS mortality rates have reduced by roughly 33%.

Similarly, this statistic also showcases an overall improvement in treatment plans, HIV/AIDS education, and access to healthcare. It is, however, important to note that these results are compared between 2018 and 2010, thus showcasing that there’s still enough room to improve. In any case, AIDS deaths per year will likely continue to reduce in the future.

The risk of HIV is highest for men with male partners and drug users.

When compared to the general population, HIV has higher transmission rates for male-male relationships, drug users, sex workers, and transgender people, in this particular order. This has been established in a variety of research efforts undertaken by HIV prevention organizations, according to AIDS demographics.

The leading AIDS-related cause of death worldwide is tuberculosis.

Reports indicate that TB accounts for around one in three deaths caused by AIDS. The virus makes it much easier to catch this disease but harder for the body to protect itself. Around 9% of people who were affected by tuberculosis in 2017 were also infected with HIV, thus increasing the overall HIV death rate.

It is estimated that 49% of people infected with both tuberculosis and AIDS do not know about both diseases.

As such, these individuals do not get appropriate medical attention for both diseases, thus leading to severe symptoms and decreasing the general chance of survival. Therefore, it is important to get tested for HIV often, especially if you are part of a risk group (unprotected sexual intercourse, drug injections, infected parents, and/or blood contact with someone else), according to AIDS statistics.

Additionally, screening for HIV is also necessary when affected by a disease that is commonly associated with the virus. This is a prevalent issue in many of the world’s developed and under-developed countries, which has the potential of negatively influencing transmission rates. Educational efforts in this regard are currently underway in several regions, according to research.

HIV Infection Rates

1.7 million people were infected with HIV during 2019.

It seems like infection rates are still fairly high, but keep in mind the fact that these numbers represented the worldwide population during 2019. Hence, the numbers are also lower when compared to the past year, thus proving that measures taken so far are efficient.

Since the start of the HIV epidemic, it is estimated that 75.7 million people were infected in total.

The error margin, in this case, ranges from 55.9 million to 100 million. That said, the actual numbers may be lower or higher than the standard threshold decided upon by UNAIDS in its HIV AIDS statistics.

The peak of HIV infections was in 1997. Since then, new infections have been reduced by 40%.

This statistic proves that healthcare professionals, NGOs, and governments have indeed managed to reduce the overall number of infections with HIV. To put things into perspective, 2.9 million people were infected in 1997, and only 1.7 million were infected in 2019, as HIV infection rates point out.

As such, we can thank medical advancements and numerous educational efforts that were made to ensure people become more aware of the main methods by which AIDS is transmitted. Despite the positive changes, educational and medical efforts shouldn’t stop, since the overall goal is to reduce the number of HIV infections to 0. However, this challenge will likely be achieved many years from now.

HIV Transmission Rates

According to the CDC, 63 out of 10,000 people who use an infected needle will get HIV.

This allows us to debunk a common misconception regarding the use of infected needles. Many people seem to think that the chances of transmission in this scenario are 100%. Nevertheless, nobody should share a needle with a person living with HIV. The same goes for sharing needles in general, granted that numerous diseases are passed this way, according to the US HIV incidence rates.

For insertive sex with an infected person, the risk of transmission is situated at four out of 10,000. For receptive sex with an infected person, the risk increases to eight out of 10,000 exposures.

Additionally, it is also important to point out that transmission rates are highest for those who carry out anal sex with an infected person. In this case, the transmission rates are situated at 138 out of 10,000 exposures.

HIV Statistics by State In the US

In the United States, diagnoses are highest in Florida and California.

The table below is given as a reference to understand better where HIV diagnoses are most common in the United States. In regions like these, local governments and NGOs must take the necessary action to help reduce the number of infections. Yearly deaths are also more common in these regions, due to the higher HIV transmission rates.

StateNumber of diagnoses in 2018
New York2,470

AIDS Demographics

Age Groups Impacted in the US

US HIV age group statistics reveal that people aged 25- to 34- years old had the highest prevalence, with 31.5% affected. These were then followed by 35- to 44- year olds, with 16.9% affected. 

However, it seems as if HIV/AIDS programs worked because the annual number of infections among those aged between 13- and 24-years of age had declined as compared to the highs reported in 2014.

HIV Cases by Sexuality

According to the CDC, over half of the people affected by HIV in the US are gay or bisexual men, although it is an encouraging sign that the rate of new infections has been stable in recent years. 

In 2016, 648,500 people with HIV infections in the US were because of male-to-male sexual contact, 298,700 were because of heterosexual contact, and 58,600 were due to male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use.

In the US, between 2010 and 2016, HIV infections were less common for people aged 13-24, yet higher for people aged 25-34.

Lower numbers were also reported for people aged between 45-54, thus showcasing that from a demographic standpoint, HIV infections are most common in the US for individuals between 25 and 34 years of age, according to statistics concerning HIV in the US.

The main argument explaining why transmission rates are highest for individuals in this age group is that people of this age most commonly engage in unprotected sexual intercourse, which remains the main transmission method at the moment. This is also the group where other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are most prevalent, as research suggests.

Between 2010 and 2016, HIV infection rates declined for African Americans and whites. Rates remained similar for Hispanics and Asians living in the US. 

Luckily, we see that HIV is becoming less widespread among African Americans, who were once facing the highest risk factor. As such, we can conclude that further efforts should be undertaken to ensure that information regarding HIV/AIDS prevention is better spread for Hispanics and Asians as well, thus reducing the highest AIDS rate for these individuals.

From a worldwide perspective, Asians and Hispanics hold some of the highest percentages for HIV infections and AIDS-related diseases. However, infection rates are decreasing for these demographics as well, which is definitely great news.

Between 2016 and 2019, these demographic-based HIV rates have remained roughly the same, although an insignificant decrease is present, according to several research studies and sources.

HIV Transmission Statistics

According to the CDC, 20 million cases of STDs are diagnosed on a yearly basis in the United States.

As such, we can easily conclude that HIV is one of the least common STDs transferred via sexual intercourse. It is important to note that it is, generally speaking, the worst of them all, which is why extra care needs to be exercised.

Apart from HIV, the 20 million diagnoses include cases of the papillomavirus, also known as HPV, alongside hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. HIV statistics by state are widely impacted by this statistic, as transmission rates for HIV are highest in states which also hold the largest number of new STD cases yearly.

According to HIV statistics by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, choosing whether to use a condom or not is based on several factors.

These include, but are not limited to, whether a woman wants to get pregnant, overall education on the matter of sexual intercourse, an individual’s experience in using contraceptive methods, and the relationship dynamic between the partners. Choosing not to wear a condom has an indirect impact on the HIV death rate.

People who are cohabiting, engaged, or married are considerably less likely to use a condom.

With this in mind, the status of a relationship is oftentimes a deciding factor to whether a couple will use a condom during sexual intercourse. As such, people who are only dating casually or are part of other arrangements will often use a condom, thus helping reduce the HIV rate.

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention study on condom use trends showcases that most US citizens do not use a condom during sexual intercourse.

It is essential to remember that condoms do not only represent a method of birth control but also the main method in protecting against sexually-transmitted diseases like HIV. With this in mind, between 2011 and 2015, only 23.8% of women reported using a condom. During the same time frame, 33.7% of men reported using a condom, as per USA HIV statistics.

A CDC study shows that 29.6% of women between 15 and 44 had a problem with condom use during the last four weeks.

The research effort indicates that 6.5% of women stated that the condom fell off or broke during sexual intercourse. Another 25.8% of respondents have stated that the condom was used for only a part of the intercourse, according to CDC HIV statistics.

Only 20 US states have enacted laws requiring that sexual and HIV-related education must be accurate from a factual, technical, and medical perspective.

This statistic goes on to showcase that the sexual education program is not standardized in many of the US states, thus leading to the spreading of misinformation. We must also mention that in many US schools, no sexual education is taught whatsoever, thus leading to higher risks. HIV statistics by state have been cross-analyzed, and correlations have been found.

In a study surveying 1,000 Americans, only 12 respondents of 60 years and older reported receiving sexual education in school.

On the other hand, 33% of people aged 18-29 have reported receiving sex-ed in schools. Luckily, things are changing as more and more schools are introducing sexual education in their curriculums.

At this time, no federal law making sex-ed mandatory has been enacted. Schools and local governments are free to choose whether they allow sexual education to be taught. However, research showcases that sex-ed can drastically reduce transmission rates. From a long-term perspective, it can also decrease how many people die from AIDS.

HIV statistics show that Americans aged 18-29 are unaware of HIV’s main transmission methods.

To put things into perspective, a survey shows that almost 50% of respondents were unable to answer correctly whether HIV can be spread through saliva. Similarly, there are many misconceptions regarding contraception as well.

For instance, 34% of respondents believe that taking the morning-after pill causes infertility, whereas 25% believe that emergency contraception can cause an instant abortion if already pregnant. This misinformation is more than capable of increasing the number of people with HIV.

The Cost of HIV

The Average Cost of HIV Treatment

JAMA Internal Medicine published a study that illustrated how the annual cost of antiretroviral therapy ranged anywhere between $25,000 to $35,000 per year in 2012. In 2018, these costs increased to between $36,000 to $48,000 per year. 

What makes things worse is that studies also point out that a 34% increase in the cost of antiretroviral therapy has far outpaced the rate of inflation, acting as a structural barrier that eventually leads to poor access to treatments and adherence. Truvada, for instance, is an HIV prevention pill that costs $2,000 per month. This out-of-pocket expense is naturally a lot more than some people can afford.

Still, federal governments are doing everything they can to spread awareness and research new avenues of treatment. For example, the CDC’s cost of HIV research and prevention had totaled $788 million in 2019 and the Ryan White Program was spending a whopping $2,318 million in its efforts to counter infections.


The above-discussed stats show that we still have a long way in eradicating HIV-related issues. However, the future seems promising. Based on everything that has been outlined so far, it seems like the gravity of the HIV virus and AIDS disease have reduced substantially over the last couple of years.

Similarly to transmission rates, death rates are also actively decreasing, according to global and HIV in the US stats. However, prevention efforts must go on to help achieve the goal of reducing HIV infections to zero. This might sound too ambitious, but the task is achievable.

It is important for healthcare professionals, scientists, governments, and NGOs to continue doing their best to ensure that a cure is found and that transmission rates drop to 0, as it has been outlined in our AIDS statistics. This can be achieved by providing risky individuals with better sexual health education, condoms, and other protection measures.

Theoretically, HIV infections cannot appear out of nowhere; they have to be transmitted from one individual to another. For that reason, if the number of infected people drops to zero, the disease will be finally eradicated once and for all, according to HIV statistics.


  • 36.9 million people are infected with HIV worldwide
  • Around 770,000 people have perished worldwide due to AIDS-related illnesses
  • 23.3 million people worldwide used antiretroviral therapy against AIDS in 2018
  • The rate of deaths caused by AIDS has been reduced by over 55% since 2004
  • 63 out of 10,000 people who use an infected needle will get HIV.
  • Sources


    What are the 90-90-90 Goals?

    In order to eradicate HIV/AIDS once and for all, the UNAIDS had set a target for 2020 named ‘90-90-90’. It aims to ensure that 90% of all infected people will know their status, 90% of all the people will receive antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people who have received antiretroviral therapy will also have viral suppression of HIV. 

    Who Was the first HIV Case in History?

    The earliest known HIV-1 infection was found in a man’s blood sample in Kinshasa, and genetic analysis on his blood sample found that the virus had stemmed from a single virus that dated back to the early 1950s. However, scientists have identified a specific species of chimpanzees as the source of infections and that HIV was most likely transmitted when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat. 

    Why Is AIDS Considered a Gay Disease?

    AIDS is not a Gay or LGBTQ disease, but it is prevalent amongst these sexual orientations because it spreads faster in their preferred method of sexual relations. Scientists estimate that the chances of HIV transmission during anal sex are approximately18-times higher as compared to vaginal intercourse. 

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