10 facts on HIV/AIDS

Updated November 2014

Portrait of a woman smiling
© WHO/James Oatway 2009

HIV/AIDS remains one of the world's most significant public health challenges, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

As a result of recent advances in access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV-positive people now live longer and healthier lives. In addition, it has been confirmed that ART prevents onward transmission of HIV.

At the end of 2013, 11.7 million people were receiving ART in low- and middle-income countries; this represents 36% [34–38%] of the 32.6 million [30.8–34.7 million] people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries.

Progress has also been made in preventing mother-to-child transmission and keeping mothers alive. In 2013, close to 7 out of 10 pregnant women living with HIV – 970 000 women – received antiretrovirals (ARVs).

WHO has released a set of normative guidelines and provides support to countries in formulating and implementing policies and programmes to improve and scale up HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for all people in need.

This fact file provides current data on the disease, and ways to prevent and treat it.

Read 10 facts on HIV/AIDS

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