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Facts on HIV / AIDS

Compiled by Avinash Ramani, M.S. (Biotechnology)  | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team on Dec 30, 2017


Human Immunodeficiency Virus usually targets the human immune system to weaken the body’s defenses against a wide variety of infection and cancers.

As the virus impairs the functions of immune cells, the infected patient gradually becomes immunodeficient, and this immunodeficiency leads to increased susceptibility to infections, cancer, and diseases which a healthy individual can fight off.


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. It can take about 2 to 15 years to develop into this syndrome.

Key Facts

  1. At the end of 2016 globally around 36.7 million people were reported to have been living with the HIV infection, and the new infection rate accounted for about 1.8 million cases that year.
  2. HIV/AIDS is a major public health problem, particularly in low and middle-income countries. The African regions are said to have been most affected, with approximately 25.6 million people still living with HIV this region accounts for about two-thirds of the global total of new HIV infections.
  3. India is said to have the third largest HIV epidemic in the world. Its prevalence rate is estimated at around 2.1 million with 80,000 new HIV infections arising every year.
  1. HIV is said to have claimed more than 35 million lives so far, and it has been estimated that in 2016 alone around 1.0 million people have died from the HIV related diseases globally.
  2. Globally in mid-2017, 20.9 million people with HIV were found to be on Antiretroviral therapy (ART) with 54% and 43% of them being adults and children respectively.
  3. HIV can be quickly diagnosed through Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), which can detect the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood. These tests can provide the results on the same day, which is essential for early diagnosis, treatment, and care.
  4. It has been estimated that globally, only 70% of the people are aware of their HIV status and so to as to reach the goal of 90%, an additional 7.5 million individuals need to access the testing services.
  5. In 2015 and 2016 an estimated 162,500 and 18,160 people did not receive their AIDS diagnosis.
  1. No cure is currently available for the HIV infection, but the effective antiretroviral therapy can help keep the virus at bay and prevent its transmission. People with HIV on medication are capable of enjoying a healthy, long and productive life.
  2. Between 2000-2016, there was an estimated decrease of about 39% in HIV infections, whereas HIV related deaths also fell by one third due to ART.
  3. In 2016, it was reported that nearly 8 out of 10 women who had HIV received antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother to child transmission.
  4. Sexual transmission of HIV can be decreased by 96% if the infected partner is on effective ART.
  5. In 2015 and 2016, Cuba, Armenia, Belarus, and Thailand were identified by WHO to have eliminated mother to child HIV transmission
  6. HIV usually poses an increased risk of active Tuberculosis (TB) development. In 2015, it was estimated that 1.2 million out of 10.4 million people who developed TB were HIV positive.
  7. In the same year of 2015, an estimated 390,000 deaths occurred from TB in people living with HIV.


  1. HIV/AIDS - (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs360/en/)
  2. AIDS/HIV - Prevention And Transmission - (https://www.medindia.net/patients/aids/prevention.htm)
  3. HIV AND AIDS IN INDIA - (https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/asia-pacific/india)
  4. HIV in the United States: At A Glance - (https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/statistics/overview/ataglance.html)

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