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Status report on HIV AIDS in children and youth of western and central Africa

Since the world has focused on halting and reversing AIDS epidemics in countries in eastern and southern Africa with exceptionally high HIV prevalence, the response to HIV in western and central Africa has received substantially less attention and focus.


UNAIDS 29 Jul 2018, 05:17 AM
  • Western and central Africa accounts for 7% of the world’s population but for 17% of all people living with HIV. (Image Credit: Flickr)

Since the world has focused on halting and reversing AIDS epidemics in countries in eastern and southern Africa with exceptionally high HIV prevalence, the response to HIV in western and central Africa has received substantially less attention and focus.

Although HIV prevalence in western and central Africa among adults 15–49 years (1.9%;1.4–2.6% in 2017) is indeed much lower than that in eastern and southern Africa (6.8%;5.9–7.7%), HIV nevertheless constitutes a major public health problem in western and central Africa.

In 2017, 6.1 million [4.4–8.1 million] people in the region were living with HIV, and an estimated 280 000 people [180,000–410,000] died from AIDS-related causes.

Western and central Africa accounts for 7% of the world’s population but for 17% of all people living with HIV and 21% of the people newly infected with HIV in 2017. Adult women (ages 15 years and older) comprise 59% of all adults living with HIV in western and central Africa.

Although the regional HIV prevalence overall is lower in western and central Africa than in eastern and southern Africa, some countries in western and central Africa have very high HIV prevalence among adults 15 to 49 years of age, such as the Central African Republic, with an HIV prevalence of 4.0% [3.3–4.8%] in 2017.

The epidemic is exacting an especially heavy toll on children in western and central Africa.

In 2017, an estimated 500,000 [320,000–690,000] children (0–14 years old) were living with HIV in the region, and an estimated 45,000 [24,000–69,000] children died from Aids-related causes. Four in 10 children who die from AIDS-related causes globally are in western and central Africa.


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