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Infographic – Higher HIV Burden for Women, Girls in Africa

Chart: HIV infections by age and sex in sub-Saharan Africa since 2010

Click on image for full size view (UNAIDS)

3 Dec. 2022. World AIDS Day this year took place on Thursday, with UNAIDS, the United Nations HIV and AIDS agency, issuing its annual report on progress against the disease. The UN’s agency estimates as of 2021, more than 38 million people worldwide are living with HIV, with some 1.5 million new infections and 650,000 deaths from AIDS last year.

The good news from the report is an estimated 28.7 million people worldwide are accessing antiretroviral therapies to control HIV, or about three-quarters of those living with the virus. That number includes about eight in 10 pregnant women with HIV, to prevent passing the virus to their children. Since its peak in 1996, says the agency, the number of new infections each year is down by more than half (54%).

But the report also shows people in sub-Saharan Africa continue to shoulder most of the world’s HIV burden. In 2021, eastern and southern Africa accounted for 20.6 million of the 38.4 million people living with HIV, and 670,000 of the 1.5 million new infections reported last year, roughly half of each total.

Moreover, younger women and girls are more likely than men and boys in the same age groups to get infected with HIV. The UNAIDS data show falling numbers of young men and women in sub-Saharan Africa with new HIV infections since 2010, but the percentage of infected women and girls also rising over that time. The agency calls for focusing more HIV prevention efforts on young women and girls in Africa, as the prime target for controlling the virus.

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