HIV and AIDS Facts - Compassion International

Get the facts about HIV and AIDS and how it affects children and their families.

hiv and aids graphic

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
  • Three-quarters of all deaths associated with HIV among children under 5 occur in just 11 countries. 2
  • There were approximately 36 million people living with HIV at the end of 2014 3. Of these, approximately 58 percent were women and 3.3 million were under the age of 15. 4
  • Sub-Saharan Africa remains the center of the HIV/AIDS epidemic 1, with 25.8 million people living with HIV in 2014 and almost 70 percent of the global total of new HIV infections. 3

A young girl is silhouetted in front of a window.

  • Adolescent girls and young women account for one in four new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa. 1
  • There are 4.2 million people aged 50 and older living with HIV today. Thirteen percent of the adult population living with HIV is aged 50 or older. 1
  • In 2014, 1.2 million people died from HIV-related causes globally. 3
  • Globally, 2 million people were newly infected with HIV in 2014. 3
  • It is estimated that only 51 percent of people with HIV know their status. 3

Four students stand at the front of classroom with HIV written on the chalkboard.

  • Life-saving antiretroviral therapy has helped gain approximately 40.2 million lifeyears since the start of the epidemic. 1
  • In 2014, 14.9 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). This represents 40 percent of people living with HIV globally. 3
  • Twenty-two million, or three of five people living with HIV, are still not accessing antiretroviral therapy. Three of four children living with HIV are not receiving HIV treatment. 1
  • Since 1995, antiretroviral therapy has averted 7.6 million deaths globally, including 4.8 million deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. 1
  • Almost half of people who are HIV-positive have oral fungal, bacterial or viral infections. These often occur early in the course of HIV infection. 5
  • People living with HIV have around a 12–20 times greater risk of developing tuberculosis than people who do not have HIV. 1
  • In South Asia, boys are almost twice as likely as girls to have comprehensive knowledge of HIV with which to protect themselves. 6

a sign nailed to a tree says beware of aids

  • Globally, only 38 percent of adults living with HIV have access to treatment. 1
  • People who inject drugs are 28 times more likely to be living with HIV. 1
  • The top four reasons people living with HIV are being left behind: (1) Human rights violations, stigma and discrimination (2) Access to treatment and services (3) Gender-based inequalities (4) criminalization and exclusion. 1
  • The top four reasons adolescent girls and young women living with HIV are being left behind: (1) Gender-based violence (2) Lack of access to health services (3) Lack of education (4) Policies that do not translate into action. 1
  • The top four reasons children and pregnant women living with HIV are being left behind: (1) Limited access to sexual and reproductive health and HIV services (2) Limited access to HIV treatment (3) Failure to prioritize children (4) Poorly integrated health-care services. 1
The Last Mile: How Our AIDS Initiative Works

A boy holds a pink pill in his hand and is ready to put the medication in his mouth.

In the global fight against AIDS, the international community has brought access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART) to many health facilities around the world, but not all. Those lifesaving tablets that travel 10,000 miles sometimes don’t make it the last mile..

How do the UN Sustainable Development Goals relate to Compassion?

several children look outside through a window

The 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.