In June 1981, scientists in the United States reported the first clinical evidence of a disease that would later become known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Its cause, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), was identified in 1983.

According to since the start of the epidemic around 85.6 million people have acquired HIV and around 40.4 million people have died of AIDS-related illnesses.

HIV is found in the bodily fluids of a person who is living with HIVblood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. It can be transmitted through unprotected sexual contact.  It is also spread among people who inject drugs with non-sterile needlesCsyringes, as well as through unscreened blood products. It can spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding if the mother is living with HIV.

Antiretroviral treatment

Over the ensuing decades, the rate of people becoming HIV-positive soared dramatically, as did the rate of fatalities. But eventually, new antiretroviral treatment began to extend the lives of those who were living with HIV. At the end of December 2022, almost 30 million of all people living with HIV were accessing antiretroviral therapy. At the same time, even though the number of people becoming HIV-positive has declined, there are still an unacceptably high number of people acquiring HIV and AIDS-related deaths each year. In 2022, 1.3 million people were newly infected with HIV and around 630.000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses.

Since 2010, new HIV infections have declined from 2.1 million to 1.3 million in 2022 (from 310.000 to 130.000 in children) and AIDS-related deaths have declined by 69% since the peak in 2004.

Gender inequalities and lack of treatment delay the end of AIDS

The effects of gender inequalities on womens HIV risks are especially pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa, where women and girls accounted for 63% of all new HIV infections in 2022. Harmful masculinities are discouraging men from seeking care.

Despite the progress made, AIDS claimed a life every minute in 2022. Globally, in 2022, about 9.2 million people living with HIV were not receiving HIV treatment and about 2.1 million people were getting treatment but were not virally suppressed. Treatment progress is especially slow in eastern Europe and central Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, where only about half of the over 2 million people living with HIV were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2022.

Men living with HIV were still significantly less likely than women living with HIV to be on treatment in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and eastern Europe and central Asia.

HIV funding gap is on the rise

Funding for HIV from both international and domestic sources also declined in 2022, returning to 2013 levels. Funding totaled US$20.8 billion in 2022, far short of the US$29.3 billion needed by 2025.

UNAIDS states that there is now an opportunity to end AIDS by increasing political will and investing in a sustainable response to HIV by funding what matters most: evidence-based HIV prevention and treatment, health systems integration, non-discriminatory laws, gender equality and empowered community networks.


family has been in the vanguard of this progress. Since 1996, its efforts have been coordinated by UNAIDSthe Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations family, which brings together the efforts and resources of 11 United Nations system organizations to unite the world against AIDS. These are: UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank.

Goals to end AIDS

Millennium Development Goals

In 2000, at the General Assemblys Millennium Summit world leaders set specific goals to stop and reverse the spread of HIV. Heads of state and representatives of governments issued the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, which set out a series of national targets and global actions to reverse the epidemic. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was created in 2002. And in 2006, the General Assembly held a high-level review of progress made since its special session, adopting a 53-point Political Declaration on the way towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

World leaders gathered in New York in June 2011 for the General Assembly High-Level Meeting on AIDS that adopted another . The promises they made defined the next steps in the global AIDS response.

In 2015, the world delivered on the AIDS targets of Millennium Development Goal 6halting and reversing the AIDS epidemic. This remarkable achievement marks the first time a global health target has been met and exceeded. By mid-2015, the number of people accessing antiretroviral therapy reached nearly 16 milliondouble the number just five years earlier.

The world has halted and reversed the spread of HIV. The epidemic has been forced into decline. Now the response is going one step furtherending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goals

Ending AIDS by 2030 is an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were unanimously adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015. The lessons learned in responding to HIV will play an instrumental role in the success of many of the SDGs, notably SDG 3, good health and well-being, and the goals on gender equality and womens empowerment, reduced inequalities, global partnerships and just, peaceful and inclusive societies