HIV and AIDS: Who Is Affected

Topic Overview

HIV and AIDS can affect anyone. Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV or AIDS.1 In the United States, more than a million people are infected with HIV.2 Many of these people do not know they are infected.

Since the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) became widespread in 1996, the incidence of AIDS has decreased. Factors responsible for the decline in the incidence of new AIDS cases include:3

  • Fewer people are becoming infected with HIV today than in the early 1980s.
  • Improved treatments for HIV infection. ART slows the rate at which HIV multiplies in the body. This helps keep a person's immune system healthy longer, which may slow the rate at which opportunistic diseases (such as pneumonia) develop.
  • More effective treatments are available to prevent HIV-related infections.

References

Citations

  1. United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organization (WHO) (2009). AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2009. Available online: http://data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2009/JC1700_Epi_Update_2009_en.pdf.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). HIV prevalence estimates—United States, 2006. MMWR, 57(39): 1073–1076.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). HIV transmission rates in the United States—CDC Fact Sheet. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/factsheets/pdf/transmission.pdf.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised October 22, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker