AIDS Alert International

Latest global data show a disturbing trend

According to UNAIDS in Geneva, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is growing despite the world’s attention and efforts at increasing prevention and treatment efforts.

The AIDS Epidemic Update of December 2003 provides these statistics about the state of the world in 2003 with regard to the AIDS epidemic:

Sub-Saharan Africa:

• Between 25 million and 28.2 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS, including 3 million to 3.4 million new infections.

• Adult prevalence is 7.5% to 8.5%.

• AIDS deaths of both adults and children are 2.2 million to 2.4 million.

• African women are 1.2 times more likely than men to be infected with HIV, and the ratio is highest among people, ages 15 to 24.

• HIV prevalence ranges from less than 1% in Mauritania to nearly 40% in Botswana and Swaziland.

• Pregnant women have HIV prevalence rates averaging 20% in most countries with the prevalence rate ranging to past 35%.

• Uganda has seen a drop in HIV prevalence to 8% in Kampala, which had a 30% prevalence rate among pregnant women a decade earlier.

• In Ethiopia, HIV prevalence among army recruits ranged from 3.8% for rural recruits to 7.2% for urban recruits.

• In Kenya, a 2002 survey reported HIV infection among 10% of pregnant women.

• West Africa, which invested heavily in HIV prevention programs in the 1980s, continues to have a very low HIV prevalence level among pregnant women, with only 1% HIV prevalence. However, HIV prevalence among sex workers has increased slowly, with a 14% rate in Dakar.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia:

• An estimated 1.2 million to 1.8 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections range from 180,000 to 280,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is 0.5% to 0.9%.

• Total deaths from AIDS are estimated to be between 23,000 and 37,000.

• The Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the Baltic States have the worst HIV epidemic, although the epidemic is beginning to spread to Kyrgystan, Uzebekistan, and continues to grow in Belarus, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

• The epidemic mainly affects young people, with more than 80% of people who are HIV-positive younger than 30. This is particularly true of injection drug users (IDUs). In the Ukraine, one-fourth of the people diagnosed with HIV are younger than 20; and in Belarus, 60% of them are 15 to 24; 80% of HIV cases are among IDUs younger than 30 in the Russian Federation.

• While most infections occur in young men due to used injection drug equipment, surveillance data show that HIV infection rates are on the rise for women, whose share of new infections rose from 24% in 2001 to 33% in 2002. This also has led to an increase in mother-to-child transmission of the virus, particularly in Kaliningrad and Krasnodar.

East Asia and the Pacific:

• An estimated 700,000 to 1.3 million people live with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections are between 610,000 to 1.1 million.

• Adult prevalence is 0.1%.

• AIDS deaths are between 32,000 and 58,000.

• IDUs in China’s Xinjiang have an HIV prevalence rate of between 30% and 80%, while the HIV prevalence rate in Guangdong is 20%.

• The epidemic has spread to 31 provinces of China, and reported HIV/AIDS cases have increased significantly in recent years.

Latin America:

• An estimated 1.3 million to 1.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections are between 120,000 and 180,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is between 0.5% to 0.7%.

• Estimated AIDS deaths are between 49,000 and 70,000.

• Most South American countries have epidemics that the result of IDU and men who have sex with men (MSM) transmission.

• In Central America, most heterosexual and MSM transmission are most common.

• National HIV prevalence is about 1% in Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.


• People living with HIV/AIDS number an estimated 350,000 to 590,000.

• New infections are estimated to be between 45,000 to 80,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is between 1.9% and 3.1%.

• Deaths due to AIDS are between 30,000 and 50,000.

• The region’s most serious epidemics are on Hispaniola Island in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

• The national HIV prevalence rate in Haiti continue to be 5% to 6%, as it has been since the 1980s.

• In the Dominican Republic, HIV prevalence has stabilized, probably due to prevention efforts.

Western Europe:

• Between 520,000 and 680,000 people live with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections number between 30,000 and 40,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is 0.3%.

• Deaths numbered between 2,600 and 3,400.

North America:

• An estimated 790,000 to 1.2 million people live with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections are between 36,000 and 54,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is between 0.5% and 0.7%.

• The number of AIDS deaths is between 12,000 and 18,000.

South and Southeast Asia:

• An estimated 4.6 million to 8.2 million people live with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections fall between 610,000 and 1.1 million.

• Adult HIV prevalence is between 0.4% and 0.8%.

• Deaths from AIDS were between 330,000 and 590,000.

North Africa and Middle East:

• Between 470,000 and 730,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS.

• New infections are between 43,000 and 67,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is 0.2% to 0.4%.

• AIDS deaths were between 35,000 and 50,000.

Australia and New Zealand:

• Between 12,000 and 18,000 people live with HIV infection.

• New infections are between 700 and 1,000.

• Adult HIV prevalence is 0.1%.

• Deaths from AIDS number fewer than 100.