Why are people still dying from AIDS?

HIV AIDS Eduction

One in six of the 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV are unaware that they are infected!

Prevention efforts have helped to keep the rate of new infections down.  Fewer people are dying from HIV and AIDS related illnesses and actually living much longer.  However, there is a worry that the opportunity for new infections to increase may arise.  This is mainly due to the number of people who are unaware that they have become infected with HIV. 

HIV is still a mainly urban disease but the annual number of new HIV infections in the US has dropped from about 130,000 to approximately 50,000 annually.*  Areas in the US that are particularly affected include Baton Rouge, LA; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; and Baltimore, MD.

Sex Education Display Models & Charts

3B Scientific AIDS-Virus model can be used in sex education courses to initiate discussion about sexually transmitted disease.

During the mid-1990s there were significant advancements in treatments.  In particular, antiretroviral therapy (ART) helped significantly to extend the life expectancy of people living with HIV.  Whilst this type of treatment also reduced deaths from AIDS, it is important to remember that without this type of treatment, HIV still leads to AIDS and an early death.

More than 600,000 people with AIDS in the US have died since the 1980’s.  Whilst the figures today are lower, there are still 15,000 people with AIDS in the America that will die each year.** 

Why are people still dying from AIDS? – Unfortunately, only about 25% people with HIV are successfully keeping their illness under control.  If someone isn’t diagnosed early on, it’s often too late for them to get the full benefit of life-extending treatment.  Statistics show that of the people that were diagnosed with HIV in 2010, 32% went on to develop AIDS only 12 months later.  This suggests that those people were likely to have been infected many years prior to their HIV diagnosis. 

Who is more at risk of contracting HIV?

Gay and bisexual men continue to be the largest group affected by HIV but the numbers of heterosexuals and injection drug users contracting HIV are growing.

5 Facts on HIV Treatment: 

  • 9.7 million people in low and middle-income countries were on ART by the end of 2012. 
  • ART for prevention of mother-to-child transmission increased to over 900,000 women in 2012
  • However, only one out of three children in need of ART is receiving it.
  • The number of AIDS related deaths globally decreased from 2.3 million in 2005 to 1.7 million in 2011.  Where ART scale-up is significant (i.e. Brazil or China), the death rate among people living with HIV can be reduced by as much as 80%. 
  • The World Health Organization predicts that with their new guidelines, regarding the use of ART in treatment and prevention, AIDS deaths and new HIV infections can be reduced by an additional 35-39% by the year 2025.

National HIV Testing Day is on June 27

Testing-dayIt's easy to get tested. You can ask your doctor for a test or you can find a nearby testing site.  In the US there are 2 FDA-approved tests that are available online or from drugstores. These test kits are simple to carry out and only require a swab of oral fluid from your gums (for a rapid test that provides results in 20 minutes) or a finger stick blood sample (that gets sent to a licensed laboratory).  Both of these tests allow you to remain annonymous and the kit manufacturers provide confidential counsling and referral to care.

If you'd like more information about helping to others learn more about HIV/AIDS and sex education, please visit our website.




Sources: *CDC estimated HIV incidence among adults and adolescents in the United states, 2007-2010.  HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012 http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reprots/#supplemental. Published December 2012.  **CDC HIV Surveillance Report, 2011; vol.23



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