Children and HIV and AIDS

How widespread is the AIDS epidemic?

© UNICEF/ HQ06-1318/Versiani
An HIV-positive girl, 13, sits outside her home overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. She is being treated with ARV therapy, and involved with a local UNICEF-supported NGO that provides support for HIV-positive children.

The AIDS epidemic is an unparalleled attack on the lives and well-being of children, their families and communities, and the systems that are meant to protect and provide them services. The epidemic knows no borders. It has spread to every region in the world and infects and affects people regardless of age, gender, wealth, geography, or sexual orientation.


Concentrated Epidemics
In many countries, the HIV epidemic is still considered ‘low’ or ‘concentrated,’ confined mainly to individuals who engage in high risk behaviors, such as men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, prisoners, and sex workers. An epidemic is considered ‘concentrated’ when less than one per cent of the general population but more than five per cent of any ‘high risk’ group are HIV-positive.

Generalized Epidemics
In sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, HIV has become a ‘generalized’ epidemic. An epidemic is considered ‘generalized’ when more than one per cent of the population is HIV-positive.

The annual AIDS epidemic update, published jointly by UNAIDS and WHO, provides an update on the latest developments in the global AIDS epidemic. With maps and regional summaries, the 2007 edition provides the most recent estimates of the epidemic’s scope. 



Facts and Figures, 2007

The number of people living with HIV
Total: 33.2 million
  [30.6–36.1 million]
Adults: 30.8 million
  [28.2–33.6 million]
Children >15: 2.1 million
  [1.9–2.4 million]

The number of people newly infected with HIV
Total: 2.5 million
  [1.8–4.1 million]
Adults: 2.1 million
  [1.4–3.6 million]
Children >15: 420,000

AIDS deaths
Total: 2.1 million
  [1.9–2.4 million]
Adults: 1.7 million
  [1.6–2.1 million]
Children >15: 290,000

Source: UNAIDS, December 2007

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