HIV/AIDS in Africa


Stands for Human immunodeficiency Virus. It is an infection which attacks the immune system of our body.   The immune system is the bodies defence system against infections and cancers.  Therefore people infected by the HIV Virus are susceptible to infections of all types as well as being prone to developing cancer.


Stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  It is a set of symptoms resulting from the weakened immune system caused by HIV infection.  It does not develop immediately with the infection and can take years to appear.

When first confirmed   

HIV/AIDS was first confirmed retrospectively  in a human who died in 1959 in the Congo in Africa.  Various deaths occurred in the 1960’s that are thought to relate to HIV.   In the 1980’s cases were appearing in the U.S and other western countries. In 1983 the first HIV virus was isolated.

Numbers ever infected

It is estimated that 78million people have been infected with HIV and 35 million people have died of AIDS related illness.

Current number of infected

An estimated 25.5 million people are living with HIV  in Sub Sahara Africa.   Around 40% of people living with HIV are unaware that they are infected.

Current new infections

In 2015 there were approximately 2.1 million new infections, 150,000 of these were children

Current numbers on treatment –  ARV’s  

As of December 2015 – 17 million people were on ARV’s   i.e. 46% of infected people..


ARV stands for Anti Retro Virus  -these are medications which have changed the outlook for people with the HIV infection.    They are like antibiotics in that they fight the infection.  They do not cure or eradicate the infection but they allow people infected to live an almost normal life and they greatly reduce the chances of passing on the infection.  They have had a great impact on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

HIV in Africa   The continent of Africa is the most effected by HIV of any area in the world

South Africa – HIV 2015

19.2% Adult Prevalence  –  In Kwazulu Natal almost 40% prevalence.

7 million living with HIV

380,000 new HIV infections

180,000 AIDS related deaths

48%  of infected patients are on ARV medication