Sub-Saharan Africa leading in new HIV infections, says WHO

The number of people newly infected with HIV each year has decreased by 40% since 1998. In 2018, new infections stood at 1.7 million, which corresponds to around 5,000 per day with 61% of these new infections centred in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to about 12 percent of the global population, yet accounts for 61 percent of the global burden of HIV infection.

Ten countries, mostly in southern and eastern Africa, which include; South Africa (25%), Nigeria (13%), Mozambique (6%), Uganda (6%), Tanzania (6%), Zambia (4%), Zimbabwe (6%), Kenya (6%), Malawi (4%) and Ethiopia (3%), account for almost 80% of all people living with HIV.

By 2018, Kenya had the joint third-largest HIV epidemic in the world, alongside Tanzania, with 1.6 million people living with HIV in 2018.

In the same year, 25,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses. While this is still high, the death rate has declined steadily from 64,000 in 2010.

HIV epidemic in Kenya is driven by sexual transmission and is generalised, meaning it affects all sections of the population including children, young people, adults, women and men.

As of 2015, 660,000 children were recorded as being orphaned by AIDS.

New HIV infections in major cities Nairobi and Mombasa, increased by more than 50% from a collective total of 4,707 in 2013 to 7,145 in 2015. As a result, HIV prevalence ranges from from 0.1 percent in Wajir to 25.4 percent in Homa Bay.

WHO reports that the number of people living with HIV globally has risen steadily from 7.9 million in 1990, to 37.9 million today. However, thanks to increased HIV treatment coverage, deaths have decreased from 1.7 million in 2005, to 770,000 in 2018.  About 23 million people (61% of people living with HIV) accessed HIV treatment in 2018.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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