Research Press Release

Infectious diseases: HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa mapped


May 16, 2019

The estimated prevalence of HIV in 47 sub-Saharan African countries from 2000-2017 is reported in a paper published online in Nature this week. These findings provide a comprehensive map of HIV infections in this region, and reveal substantial differences in prevalence between countries, localized areas, and over time.

HIV/AIDS is a leading source of disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa and, despite advances in treatments, remains the most common cause of death in this region. More detailed information about variation in HIV prevalence could aid efforts to prevent and treat HIV infections.

Simon Hay and colleagues present a comprehensive analysis of HIV prevalence across 47 sub-Saharan African countries between 2000 and 2017. The data were obtained from survey and care clinics, and provide estimates of HIV prevalence among adults aged 15-49 years. The authors compared prevalence between administrative areas within countries, and between 5-by-5 kilometre grids. There was widespread variation in HIV prevalence both between and within countries - countries with overall lower HIV rates displayed high HIV prevalence in localized areas. In 15 out of 47 countries, HIV prevalence at a national level increased between 2000 and 2017, although the direction of this trend varied at the local level.


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