Review of global epidemiological situation on HIV/AIDS

Review of global epidemiological situation on HIV/AIDS

The overall growth of the global AIDS epidemic appears to have stabilized. It is estimated that there were 33.3 million people living with HIV at the end of 2009 compared with 26.2 million in 1999 (a 27% increase). Although the annual number of new HIV infections has been steadily declining since the late 1990s, this decrease is of set by the reduction in AIDS-related deaths due to the significant scale up of antiretroviral therapy over the past few years.

In Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and North America, the rates of annual new HIV infections have been stable for at least the past few years. However, evidence is increasing of a resurgence of HIV in several highincome countries among men who have sex with men. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, high rates of HIV transmission continue to occur in networks of people who inject drugs and their sexual partners. A recent analysis among young people provides further evidence of decreasing incidence and safer sexual behaviour. As access to services for preventing the mother-to-child transmission of HIV has increased, the total number of children being born with HIV has decreased. An estimated 370 000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2009 (a drop of 24% from five years earlier).

Although the rate of new HIV infections has decreased, the total number of people living with HIV continues to rise. The estimated number of children living with HIV increased to 2.5 illion in 2009 and the proportion of women living with HIV has remained stable, at slightly less than 52% of the global total. Sub-Saharan Africa still bears an inordinate share of the global HIV burden. In 2009, that number reached 22.5 million, 68% of the global total. Sub-Saharan Africa has more women than men living with HIV.

The number of annual AIDS-related deaths worldwide is steadily decreasing from the peak of 2.1 million in 2004 to an estimated 1.8 million in 2009 and it reflects the increased availability of antiretroviral therapy, as well as care and support to people living with HIV, particularly in middle- and low-income countries; it is also a result of decreasing incidence starting in the late 1990s. AIDS-related mortality began to decline in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean in 2005. Different patterns have emerged in other regions. In North America and Western and Central Europe, deaths due to AIDS began to decline soon at er antiretroviral therapy was introduced in 1996. In Asia and Central and South America, the number of deaths has stabilized, but there is no indication yet of decline. Deaths continue to increase in Eastern Europe. Globally, deaths among children younger than 15 years of age are also declining.