HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body. This damage to the immune system makes it harder and harder for the body to fight off infections and some other diseases.
Recent scientific advances have given us more tools than ever to fight HIV, but millions of people still aren’t benefiting from them. In order to significantly decrease new HIV infections, we must reach the most vulnerable populations with effective HIV prevention and treatment.
What is the global impact of HIV?
- Globally, about 37 million people are living with HIV. More than two-thirds are living in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Despite the existence of medications that can control HIV and even reduce viral transmission, HIV is still a leading cause of death and a health threat to millions worldwide. Each year, HIV claims more than a million lives, and more than 2 million people become newly infected with HIV.
- Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) before the disease is far advanced can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV. Without ART, people with HIV can progress to AIDS in just a few years.
What is CDC doing?
- CDC has been working to combat HIV since the start of the epidemic. As an implementing agency of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), CDC works side by side with Ministries of Health, leveraging our scientific and technical expertise to help deliver high impact, sustainable prevention, care and treatment to millions of people in countries most affected by HIV.
- By FY2016, CDC helped support antiretroviral treatment for 6.4 million men, women, and children. CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB (DGHT) is working with country partners to:
- Scale up the use of antiretroviral treatment (ART) among people living with HIV
- Strengthen the ability of national governments to provide top-notch, sustainable HIV services
- Deliver the most effective prevention tools to individuals at high risk for HIV infection
- Use data to reach high-risk groups, inform public health policies and strategies, and measure our impact
At CDC, we are committed to using innovative, evidence-based strategies to fight this epidemic worldwide. Our goal is to save lives and, ultimately, bring an end to the HIV epidemic.
- Browse global HIV publications here
- Download Global HIV fact sheet
- Read CDC’s latest global HIV news releases
- Browse Global HIV images on the CGH Flickr stream or search by topic or country
- Search images by topic on the Public Health Image Library (PHIL)
- Learn more about global HIV
- Explore key facts about the global HIV & TB epidemics
- Page last reviewed: June 1, 2018
- Page last updated: June 1, 2018
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