HIV and AIDS Initiative

Stethoscope iconLearn the facts about poverty and how it affects children and families in need.

The facts about HIV and AIDS reveal a devastating reality that is especially hard on children living in poverty. Even when children themselves don’t have HIV, many are still affected by it. This is especially true for children in sub-Saharan Africa.

While these HIV and AIDS facts can seem overwhelming, we are working to change the reality for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Our AIDS Initiative is attacking the disease head on through education, treatment and rehabilitation.

  • Fifteen countries account for nearly 75 percent of all people living with HIV. 1
  • About 1.8 million children under the age of 15 live with HIV. 5
  • Three-quarters of all deaths associated with HIV among children under 5 occur in just 11 countries. 2
  • 36.9 million people globally were living with HIV in 2017. 5

Child looking out a window
Beware of AIDS sign on tree
  • In 2016, of the 36.7 million people living with HIV, 2.1 million were children under 15 years of age and about 18.8 million were women and girls. 4
  • Sub-Saharan Africa remains the center of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 3
  • Africa accounts for almost two thirds of the global total of new HIV infections. 3
  • In 2016, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for approximately 66 percent of people living with HIV worldwide, 64 percent of new HIV infections, and around 70 percent of all AIDS-related deaths. 4
  • Nearly 90 percent of children under the age of 15 newly infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa. 4
  • Adolescents aged 15 to 19 account for an estimated 15 percent of new adult HIV infections worldwide. 4
  • Globally, in 2016, adolescent girls accounted for two thirds of all new HIV infections among adolescents. 4
  • 940,000 people died of HIV-related illnesses worldwide in 2017.6
Boys learning about HIV in school
Boy looking out a window
  • 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017. 5
  • n 2017, 80 percent of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their babies. 5
  • 75 percent of all people living with HIV knew their HIV status in 2017. 5
  • In 2017, 59 percent of all people living with HIV were accessing treatment. 5
  • As of 2016, roughly 16.5 million children under the age of 18 had lost one or both parents to AIDS. 4
  • Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for around one in three AIDS-related deaths. 5

How Do the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Relate to Compassion?

Students looking through window and smilingThe UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) directly parallel what Compassion does. But when it comes to goals and implementation we sometimes take a different approach. This is a quick analysis of the SDGs and how they most closely match our work, along with ways they overlap and differ.

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1 UNAIDS, 2014, The Gap Report.

2 UNICEF Strategic Plan 2014-2017.

3 World Health Organization Media Centre Fact sheet N°360. HIV/AIDS, July 2017.

4 UNICEF, HIV/AIDS: Current Status + Progress, July 2017