In order to understand the challenges that face HIV-positive women, one must first have a foundation for understanding the history of HIV globally; within the United States and then specifically what the unique challenges are that face HIV-positive women. The history of any community, country and nation is continuous, it is not duplicated in every event of understanding, but rather is applied to a present situation and defines the context in which we understand the past (Gadamer, Hans-Georg, Philosophical Hermeneutics, David E. Linge, ed., trans. University of California Press: Berkeley, California. 1977). If we look at HIV as a historical event, the way it is understood by the United States of America is based upon the history and tradition of this country. This single event would be understood differently in Uganda or Thailand for example. Each community, country and nation understands events based upon its continuous history and tradition and responds to those events (i.e. prevention methods, education, access to medicine, public policies) accordingly.

According to the latest HIV and AIDS fact sheet provided by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the number of people living with HIV and AIDS globally rose from 29.5 million in 2001 to 33.2 million in 2007 (UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2008: 5).

However, compared to 2006 where there was an estimated 39.5 million people living with HIV, 2007, represented a 16% reduction of all reported HIV cases.

According to UNAIDS, there is evidence that these declines are due to education (i.e. using a condom; not sharing intravenous needles) in six countries: Angola, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zimbabwe, illustrating that education is an important component in the prevention of HIV disease (UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2008).

The global prevalence rate among persons 15-49 years of age is 0.8%. Worldwide, women represent half of all persons living with HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2008). It is estimated that there are 5.3 million new HIV cases every year among men and women, and 15,000 new cases per day.


Globally, new HIV infections among adults and children were reduced by 40% since the peak in 1997. However, new analysis from UNAIDS shows that new HIV infections among adults have stalled, failing to decline for at least five years. The report outlines what is needed to step up prevention efforts

GENEVA, 12 July 2016—A new report by UNAIDS reveals concerning trends in new HIV infections among adults. The Prevention gap report shows that while significant progress is being made in stopping new HIV infections among children (new HIV infections have declined by more than 70% among children since 2001 and are continuing to decline), the decline in new HIV infections among adults has stalled. The report shows that HIV prevention urgently needs to be scaled up among this age group.

HIV prevention gap among adults

The Prevention gap report shows that an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for at least the past five years and that new HIV infections among adults are rising in some regions. The Prevention gap report gives the clear message that HIV prevention efforts need to be increased in order to stay on the Fast-Track to ending AIDS by 2030.

  • Eastern Europe and central Asia saw a 57% increase in annual new HIV infections between 2010 and 2015.
  • After years of steady decline, the Caribbean saw a 9% rise in annual new HIV infections among adults between 2010 and 2015.
  • In the Middle East and North Africa, annual new HIV infections increased by 4% between 2010 and 2015.
  • There have been no significant declines in any other regions of the world.
  • In Latin America the annual number of new adult HIV infections increased by 2% since 2010;
  • New HIV infections declined marginally in western and central Europe and North America and in western and central Africa since 2010;
  • New HIV infections among adults declined by 4% in eastern and southern Africa since 2010, and by 3% in Asia and the Pacific since 2010

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “The power of prevention is not being realized. If there is a resurgence in new HIV infections now, the epidemic will become impossible to control. The world needs to take urgent and immediate action to close the prevention gap.”

The AIDS epidemic has had a huge impact over the past 35 years. Since the start of the epidemic, 35 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses and an estimated 78 million people have become infected with HIV.

  • Source: July/2016


Regionally, the southern part of Africa has the highest number of reported cases of HIV (approximately 25.3 million) and accounts for 67% of all reported HIV cases worldwide and 72% of all AIDS related deaths (UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2008). The region that follows Africa with the second highest reported cases of HIV is South Asia and South East Asia (4.0 million combined in both regions), with India at 0.36% and Thailand at 1.4%. Latin America has an estimated 1.6 million people living with HIV, with Guyana (2.5%) and Suriname (2.4%) representing the highest proportions of infected patients in that region. Eastern Europe and Central Asia (1.6 million) represent the third highest region of HIV infection worldwide, and, North America (1.3 million) represents the fourth highest rate of HIV worldwide, with the United States at 0.6%. East Asia (800,000 thousand) represents the fifth highest prevalence rate with China and Mongolia (0.1%) tied for the highest percentage. Western and Central Europe (760,000 thousand) represents the sixth highest rate followed by the Middle East and North Africa (380,000 thousand), the Caribbean (230,000) and Oceania (75,000 thousand) (UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2008).