The Global Epidemic (Q Abdool Karim, Section Editor)

Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 113-123

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Overview of the Current State of the Epidemic

  • Catherine HankinsAffiliated withDepartment of Global Health, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development, University of AmsterdamLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Email author 


At the end of 2011, about half of the 34.0 million [31.4–35.9 million] people living with HIV infection knew their HIV status. With large regional variations, an estimated 0.8 % of all adults aged 15 to 49 years have HIV infection and HIV subtype diversity is increasing. Although HIV incidence has declined in 39 countries, it is stable or increasing in others. HIV prevalence continues to rise as antiretroviral treatment scale-up results in fewer HIV-related deaths while new infections continue to occur. Increased treatment uptake is likely reducing HIV transmission in countries with large mortality declines. Key populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs and young women in high prevalence settings require effective prevention programs urgently. Correcting mismatches in resource allocation and reducing community viral load will accelerate incidence declines and affect future epidemic trends, if concerted action is taken now.


HIV AIDS HIV prevalence HIV incidence HIV-related mortality Global epidemic trends Country responses Key populations Community viral load