Some Facts about AIDS

 Nathaniel Centre Staff
Issue 18, April 2006

Global Statistics

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognised in 1981.
  • UNAIDS figures released in December 2005 revealed that globally there were 3 million AIDS deaths during 2005, 570,000 of which were children.
  • Around 5 million people have been newly infected with AIDS in 2005.
  • The total number of people infected worldwide has risen from 37.5 million in 2004 to 40.3 million in 2005 the highest ever level.
  • A total of 2.3 million children under 15 years live with the AIDS virus.
  • Two-thirds of all people infected with HIV-AIDS live in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 77% of all women with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa more than 12 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
  • In 2005, 17.5 million women (43%) were living with HIV - there has been an increase in the proportion of women being affected by the epidemic.
  • In several southern African countries, more than three quarters of all young people (15-24 yrs) living with HIV are women while in sub-Saharan Africa overall, young women between 15 and 24 years old are at least three times more likely to be HIV-positive than young men.

Oceania Statistics

  • In 2005 an estimated 74,000 adults and children were living with HIV-AIDS in Oceania, up from an estimated 63,000 in 2003.
  • The number of women living with HIV is estimated at 39,000 or 55% of cases (44% in 2003) in Oceania compared with an estimated 46% of all adults globally.
  • Since 1997, HIV diagnoses have increased by about 30% each year in Papua New Guinea; approximately 10,000 HIV cases had been diagnosed by the end of 2004, although the actual number of people living with HIV could five times as high.
  • Information from Papua New Guinea points to a mainly heterosexual epidemic fostered largely by commercial sex and casual sex networks.
  • HIV diagnoses have started to increase in Australia again after a decline of approximately 25% between 1995 and 2000.
  • Injecting drug use accounted for 20% of diagnoses in Indigenous Australian people as compared to 3% of non-Indigenous. One third of Indigenous women diagnosed with HIV had acquired the virus during unsafe injecting drug use.
  • In New Zealand new HIV cases have doubled in recent years, from fewer than 80 in 1999 to 157 in 2004.
  • Sex between men accounted for about half the new diagnoses in New Zealand. Similar to Australia, more than 90% of people with heterosexually-acquired HIV diagnosed in 2004 had been infected abroad.

Source: AIDS epidemic update: December 2005,, accessed 22 March 2006.

Note: The UNAIDS/WHO estimates are based on the most recent available data on the spread of HIV in countries around the world. They are provisional. UNAIDS and WHO, together with experts from national AIDS programmes and research institutions, regularly review and update the estimates as improved knowledge about the epidemic becomes available, while also drawing on advances made in the methods for deriving estimates. Because of these and future advances, the current estimates cannot be compared directly with estimates published in previous years, nor with those that may be published subsequently.