Current Status + Progress
Turning the tide against AIDS will require more concentrated focus on adolescents and young people

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In 2014, about 2.0 million adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 were living with HIV worldwide. Adolescents account for about 5 per cent of all people living with HIV and about 12 per cent of new adult HIV infections. Regions with the highest numbers of HIV-positive adolescents are sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Of the 2.0 million adolescents living with HIV, about 1.6 million (82 per cent) live in sub-Saharan Africa.

AIDS is the leading cause of death among adolescents (10-19) in Africa and the second leading cause of death among adolescents globally. AIDS-related deaths among adolescents have tripled since 2000 while decreasing among all other age groups, which can be largely attributed to a generation of children infected with HIV perinatally who are growing into adolescence without access to life-saving interventions. About half of adolescents (15-19) living with HIV are in just six countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Every hour, 26 adolescents (15-19) were newly infected with HIV in 2014 (220,000 total). Adolescent girls and young women are disproportionately affected by HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in countries with high HIV prevalence. In sub-Saharan Africa, 7 in 10 new infections in 15-19 year olds are among girls.  To compound this, most recent data indicate that only 11 per cent of adolescents aged 15-19 in sub-Saharan Africa have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months. However, HIV remains a global issue when it comes to prevention among adolescents. Almost 40 per cent of new HIV infections among adolescents (15-19) occurred outside sub-Saharan Africa. If current trends continue, hundreds of thousands more will become HIV-positive in the coming years.

Nearly 75 per cent of all adolescents living with HIV are from 12 countries
Estimated percentage of adolescents (aged 10─19) living with HIV in 20 selected high-burden countries, 2015

Source: UNAIDS 2016 estimates, July 2016

AIDS-related deaths have declined in younger children and adults, but have increased among adolescents
Estimated number of AIDS-related deaths among children (ages 0─9), younger adolescents (ages 10─14), older adolescents (ages 15─19) and young people (ages 20─24), 2000─2015

Source: UNAIDS 2016 estimates, July 2016


ALL IN to #EndAdolescentAIDS is a platform for action and collaboration to drive better results with and for adolescents (aged 10-19 years) through critical changes in programmes and policy. It aims to unite actors across sectors to accelerate reductions in AIDS-related deaths by 65 per cent and new HIV infections among adolescents by 75 per cent by 2020, and thus set the global AIDS movement on track to end the AIDS epidemic among adolescents by 2030.

All IN is strengthening partnerships across sectors and fostering meaningful involvement of adolescents in all aspects of programming and advocacy for adolescents, while providing an opportunity to support countries to improve data collection, analysis and utilization for programme planning and M&E.


According to UNAIDS estimates, HIV incidence has fallen in many of the most severely affected countries because adolescents and young people are adopting safer sexual practices. In several countries, risk behaviour is on the decline, including the initiation of sex before age 15, sex with multiple partners and sex without condoms.

In countries with generalized epidemics, schools can be a critical venue for reaching adolescents with the information and skills they need to avoid infection. In fact, evidence shows that school-based sex education can be effective in changing the knowledge, attitudes and practices that lead to risk behaviour.

Preventing HIV in countries with low prevalence or where the epidemic is concentrated in specific populations is especially challenging since the spread of the virus is fueled by high-risk, often stigmatized behaviour. People who engage in such behaviour tend to be young and include sex workers, people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men.

For more information on UNICEF’s programme and policy work on HIV and AIDS, click here

Recent Resources

Guidance Document: Strengthening the Adolescent Component of National HIV Programmes through Country Assessments

Mar 22, 2016

This guidance document and its accompanying tool, the Adolescent Assessment and Decision-Makers Tool (AADM), were devised to facilitate country assessments aimed at strengthening the adolescent component of national HIV programmes. The purpose of the country assessments is to: (1) support country teams in the identification of equity and performance gaps affecting adolescent HIV programming; and (2) define priority actions to improve the effectiveness of the national adolescent HIV response.

Download the guidance document | Download the guidance document annex

Children & AIDS: 2015 Statistical Update

Nov 27, 2015

At the turn of the century, and the beginning of the Millennium Development Goals, an HIV diagnosis was equivalent to a death sentence for most children and their families in low-income countries. But now, an early diagnosis paired with treatment and care can ensure long healthy lives, regardless of location, and can help prevent transmission of HIV to others. Since 2000, 30 million new infections were prevented, nearly 8 million deaths averted, and 15 million people living with HIV are now receiving treatment.

Download executive summary

Epidemiology of HIV and AIDS Among Adolescents: Current Status, Inequities, and Data Gaps

Jul 21, 2014

The JAIDS Supplement is a key source of evidence that will inform collective efforts towards ending the adolescent AIDS epidemic. The series presents a collection of reviews on adolescents analyzing current evidence and experience from programmes to highlight how to improve HIV-specific outcomes.

Download article (PDF)
Notes on the Data


In an effort to harmonize data collection and minimize the reporting burden on countries, UNAIDS, WHO and UNICEF have developed a joint reporting tool. The tool, which has been translated into several UN languages, combines the Global AIDS Response Progress Reporting and Universal Access reporting on the health sector response to HIV/AIDS. Countries that have not yet begun using the tool are advised to download the latest version. Accompanying guidelines support countries in using the tool and provide detailed descriptions of the indicators used.

  • For more information, click here.
  • For Global AIDS Response Progress Reporting/Universal Access reporting guidelines, click here.
  • To view the latest version of the reporting tool, click here.
  • To view a list of indicators, click here.


UNAIDS, WHO and UNICEF are using Futures Institute’s modelling software, Spectrum/EPP, to generate estimates, which support policy decisions concerning public health. Spectrum includes modules for HIV estimates and projectors.

  • For more information, click here.
  • For estimates methodology, click here.


Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), AIDS Indicator Surveys (AIS), reproductive health surveys, sexual behaviour surveys and other nationally representative surveys are currently used to collect data on HIV and AIDS.