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Home > Countries & Regions > Sub-Saharan Africa
Updated June 2011
Regional Overview
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Epidemiology and Trends
Health and Development Profiles
Surveys and Assessments
Policy Reports and Papers
Journal Articles
Research Summaries
Online Books and Chapters
Provider Education and Training
Clinician Support Tools
Program Management Materials
International Organizations
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Other Organizations
HIV/AIDS Web Sites
Conferences and Events
News Sources and Periodicals
Other Information Sources
Comprehensive Indicator Report
Focus on Care and Treatment
Country Profiles
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Côte d'Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Equatorial Guinea
Sao Tome and Principe
Sierra Leone
South Africa
HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
Population, 2013926,000,000
People living with HIV/AIDS, 201225,000,000
Women (aged 15+) with HIV/AIDS, 201212,900,000
Children with HIV/AIDS, 20122,900,000
Adult HIV prevalence (%), 20124.7
AIDS deaths, 20121,200,000
nd = No data
Source: Population Reference Bureau & UNAIDS
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Regional Overview

Abstracted from the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS, November 2010..

Epidemiology and Trends

Sub-Saharan Africa still bears an inordinate share of the global HIV burden. The epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa vary considerably, with southern Africa still the most severely affected. An estimated 11.3 million [10.6 million-11.9 million] people were living with HIV in southern Africa in 2009, nearly one third (31%) more than the 8.6 million [8.2 million- 9.1 million] people living with HIV in the region a decade earlier. Globally, 34% of people living with HIV in 2009 resided in the 10 countries in southern Africa; 31% of new HIV infections in the same year occurred in these 10 countries, as did 34% of all AIDS-related deaths. About 40% of all adult women with HIV live in southern Africa.

HIV incidence is falling in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The HIV incidence appears to have peaked in the mid-1990s, and there is evidence of declines in incidence in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2001 and 2009, the incidence of HIV infection declined by more than 25% in an estimated 22 countries. In Zimbabwe, the main behavioral change appears to have been a reduction in the proportion of men with casual partners, while condom use with nonregular partners has remained high since the late 1990s. With an estimated 5.6 million [5.4 million-5.8 million] people living with HIV in 2009, South Africa's epidemic remains the largest in the world. New indications show a slowing of HIV incidence amid some signs of a shift towards safer sex among young people. The annual HIV incidence among 18-year-olds in South Africa declined sharply from 1.8% in 2005 to 0.8% in 2008, and among women 15-24 years old it dropped from 5.5% in 2003-2005 to 2.2% in 2005-2008. Other epidemics in southern Africa have also leveled off at very high levels. At an estimated 25.9% [24.9%-27.0%] in 2009, Swaziland has the highest adult HIV prevalence in the world.

The epidemics in East Africa have declined since 2000 but are stabilizing in many countries. The HIV incidence slowed in the United Republic of Tanzania to about 3.4 per 1000 person-years between 2004 and 2008. The national HIV prevalence in Kenya fell from about 14% in the mid-1990s to 5% in 2006. The HIV prevalence in Uganda has stabilized at between 6.5% and 7.0% since 2001. The HIV prevalence in Rwanda has been about 3.0% since 2005.

The HIV prevalence in West and Central Africa remains comparatively low, with the adult HIV prevalence estimated at 2% or under in 12 countries in 2009 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Sierra Leone). The prevalence of HIV is highest in Cameroon at 5.3% [4.9%-5.8%], Central African Republic 4.7% [4.2%-5.2%], Côte d'Ivoire 3.4% [3.1%-3.9%], Gabon 5.2% [4.2%-6.2%], and Nigeria 3.6% [3.3%-4.0%]. Slight declines in prevalence have been detected in household surveys in Mali and Niger and among antenatal clinic attendees in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo.

Health and Development Profiles
AIDS Epidemic Update Regional Summary - Sub-Saharan Africa
UNAIDS, April 16, 2008. [PDF, 481K] Also in Spanish, French, and Russian.
Fact Sheet: AIDS Epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa
UNAIDS, December 2006. [PDF, 44K] Also in Spanish, French, and Russian.
The African Regional Health Report: The Health of the People
World Health Organization, 2006.
Surveys and Assessments
Changes in HIV-Related Knowledge and Behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa
Vinod Mishra, Praween Agrawal, Soumya Alva, Yuan Gu, Shanxiao Wang, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), ICF Macro, International HIV/AIDS Alliance. September 2009. [PDF, 6.4MB]
Levels and Spread of HIV Seroprevalence and Associated Factors: Evidence from National Household Surveys
Vinod Mishra, Amy Medley, Rathavuth Hong, et al. DHS Comparative Reports No. 22., Macro International Inc., February 2009. [PDF, 3.39K]
The Role of Partner Reduction and Faithfulness in HIV Prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa: Evidence from Cameroon, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe
Mishra, Vinod, Rathavuth Hong, Simona Bignami-Van Assche, Bernard Barrere. DHS Working Papers No.61. Macro International Inc., January 2009. [PDF, 392K]
Comparison of HIV Prevalence Estimates from Antenatal Care Surveillance and Population-Based Surveys in Sub-Saharan Africa
Livia Montana, Vinod Mishra, and Rathavuth Hong, Macro International Inc, August 2008. [PDF, 218K]
Medical Injection Use and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
Vinod Mishra. Demographic and Health Research Division, Macro International Inc., October 2008. [PDF, 290K]
HIV and Nutrition among Women in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sarah E.K. Bradley, Vinod Mishra, DHS Analytical Studies No. 16., Macro International Inc., September 2008. [PDF, 617K]
HIV/AIDS Services through the Workplace: A Survey in Four Sub-Saharan African Countries
Sara Zellner, Ilana Ron. Private Sector Partnerships-One, Abt Associates Inc., July 2008. [PDF, 987K]
HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Surveillance Update for the WHO African Region 2007
World Health Organization (WHO), 2008.
Policy Reports and Papers
The Changing HIV/AIDS Landscape: Selected Papers for the World Bank's Agenda for Action in Africa, 2007-2011
Elizabeth Lule, Richard Seifman, Antonio David, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank, June 2009. [PDF, 5.59MB]
West and Central Africa: Towards Universal Access to Prevention, Care and Treatment
UNAIDS, October 2008. [PDF, 3.64MB}
HIV/AIDS Services through the Workplace : a Survey of Four Sub-Saharan African Countries
Sara Zellner, and Ilana Ron, Private Sector Partnerships For Better Health. [PDF, 987K]
Potential Applications of Conditional Cash Transfers for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
Carol Medlin, Damien de Walque, Development Research Group, The World Bank, July 2008. [PDF, 105K]
Men's Condom Use in Higher-Risk Sex: Trends and Determinants in Five Sub-Saharan Countries
Tim Adair, Macro International Inc., April 2008.
HIV and Prisons in Sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunity for Action
AIDS Campaign Team for Africa (ACTAfrica), World Bank, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), UNAIDS, October 2007. [PDF, 2.11MB]
Help Wanted -- Confronting the Health Care Worker Crisis to Expand Access to HIV/AIDS Treatment: MSF Experience in Southern Africa
Médecins Sans Frontières, May 2007. [PDF, 940K]
Expert Think Tank Meeting on HIV Prevention in High-Prevalence Countries in Southern Africa - Report
Southern African Development Community, July 2006. [PDF, 559K]
Building Resilience -- A Rights-Based Approach to Children and HIV/AIDS in Africa
Save the Children Sweden, May 2006. [PDF, 832K]
HIV and People on the Move -- Risk and Vulnerabilities of Migrants and Mobile Populations in Southern Africa
Health and Development Networks, 2006. [PDF, 1.1MB]
AIDS in Africa: Three Scenarios to 2025
UNAIDS, March 2005. [PDF, 5MB]
Risk and Protection: Youth and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
Akinrinola Bankole, Susheela Singh, Vanessa Woog, Deirdre Wulf. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2004. [PDF, 504K]
Journal Articles
Primary HIV-1 infection among infants in sub-Saharan Africa: HPTN 024
Read JS, Mwatha A, Richardson B, et al. 2009 Jul 1;51(3):317-22. Includes commentary from the UCSF Institute for Global Health.
Men who have sex with men and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
Smith AD, Tapsoba P, Peshu N, Sanders EJ, Jaffe HW. Lancet. 2009 Aug 1;374(9687):416-22.
Heterogeneity in host HIV susceptibility as a potential contributor to recent HIV prevalence declines in Africa
Nagelkerke N, de Vlas SJ, Jha P, Luo M, Plummer FA, Kaul R. AIDS. 2009 Jan 2;23(1):125-30.
Explaining adherence success in Sub-Saharan Africa: an ethnographic study
Norma C. Ware, John Idoko, Sylvia Kaaya, et al. PLoS Medicine. 2009; 6 (1):39-47.
Male circumcision for HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa: who, what, when?
White RG, Glynn JR, Orroth KK, et al. AIDS. 2008;22:1841-50. Includes commentary from the UCSF Institute for Global Health.
Systematic review exploring time trends in the association between educational attainment and risk of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa
Hargreaves JR, Bonell CP, Boler T, Boccia D, Birdthistle I, Fletcher A, et al. AIDS. 2008 Jan 30;22(3):403-14. Includes commentary from the UCSF Institute for Global Health.
The association between HIV infection and alcohol use: a systematic review and meta-analysis of African studies
Fisher JC, Bang H, Kapiga SH. Sex Transm Dis 2007 Nov;34(11):856-63. Includes commentary from the UCSF Institute for Global Health.
Prevalence of HIV infection in conflict-affected and displaced people in seven sub-Saharan African countries: a systematic review
Welz T, Hosegood V, Jaffar S, Batzing-Feigenbaum J, Herbst K, Newell ML. AIDS 2007 Jul 11;21(11):1467-72. Includes commentary from the UCSF Institute for Global Health.
Research Summaries
Change, Choice and Power: Young Women, Livelihoods and HIV Prevention -- Literature Review and Case Study Analysis
International Planned Parenthood Association (IPPF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Young Positives, 2007. [PDF, 403K]
The Natural History of HIV-1 and HIV-2 Infections in Adults in Africa: A Literature Review
Shabbar Jaffar, Alison Grant, Jimmy Whitworth, Peter Smith, Hilton Whittle. WHO, 2004. [PDF, 131K]
Online Books and Chapters
Africa's Orphaned and Vulnerable Generations: Children Affected by AIDS
Unite for Children (UNICEF), UNAIDS, 2006. [PDF, 1.08MB]
Provider Education and Training
Nutrition and HIV/AIDS: A Training Manual for Nurses and Midwives
East, Central, and Southern African Health Community (ECSA-HC), Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project (FANTA), August 2008. [PDF, 2.35MB]
AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP)
Trains scientists to address the global HIV/AIDS and related tuberculosis epidemic through research. A program of the Fogarty International Center and National Institutes of Health.
International Training and Education Center on HIV (I-TECH)
I-TECH works to establish highly responsive HIV/AIDS training centers and referral networks in designated regions worldwide.
The National AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETC) Network, U.S.
The centers conduct targeted, multi-disciplinary education and training programs for health care providers treating persons with HIV/AIDS.
Southern African AIDS Training (SAT) Program
Based in Harare and administered by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA).
Clinician Support Tools
Handbook on Paediatric AIDS in Africa
African Network for the Care of Children Affected by AIDS (ANECCA), Family Health International (FHI), July 2006. [PDF, 2MB]
Program Management Materials
Promising and Best Practices in STI/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care in West and Central Africa
AWARE-HIV/AIDS Project, USAID, Family Health International (FHI), January 2008. [PDF, 1.04MB]
Collaborating with Traditional Healers for HIV Prevention and Care in Sub-Saharan Africa: Suggestions for Program Managers and Field Workers
UNAIDS, November 2006. [PDF, 812K] See also related UNAIDS feature story.
Directory of Associations of People Living with HIV/AIDS
Network of African People Living with HIV/AIDS and USAID, July 2004. [PDF, 2.78MB]
International Organizations
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): Subsaharan Africa Overview
CIDA coordinates health, education, peace-building and economic reform projects, all of which emphasize gender equality and environmental protection. Africa site details projects and offers links to fact sheets.
International HIV/AIDS Alliance
Organization donates technical and financial support to HIV prevention, AIDS care, and orphans projects. Site features electronic library of NGO/CBO resources and numerous related links.
PharmAccess International
Organization facilitates access to anti-AIDS medications and clinical care. Site details projects and provides information on new medical therapies.
World Bank Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Page
World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa
In English and French.
Other Organizations
Commonwealth Regional Health Community
Encourages cooperation in health among fourteen countries in East, Central, and Southern Africa through capacity building, policy and advocacy, research and evaluation, and information sharing.
Media for Development Trust
Assists local NGOs to develop capacity to use film and video.
Panos Southern Africa AIDS Program
Based in Lusaka. Works with media and other information actors to enable developing countries to shape and communicate their own development agendas through informed public debate; particular focus on amplifying the voices of the poor and marginalized. Numerous HIV/AIDS-related activities and publications.
Society for Women and AIDS in Africa
A pan-African advocacy organization dedicated to women and their families in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Southern Africa Communications for Development
Coalition of filmmakers and organizations that produce and distribute socially responsible films and videos, including those on HIV/AIDS-related issues.
Southern African AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS)
Based in Harare.
Southern African Network of AIDS Service Organizations (SANASO)
Based in Harare.
Southern African Regional Poverty Network
Managed by South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council.
HIV/AIDS Web Sites
Advance Africa
Funded by USAID; seeks to improve family planning and reproductive health services reaching underserved groups.
Launched by the Fondation du Présent; moderated by Health & Development Networks, and hosted by Health Systems Trust, Durban, South Africa.
Africa Alive
Funded by USAID and DFID; seeks to provide youth with the skills to fight HIV/AIDS through the medium of popular entertainment.
African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF)
Seeks to improve health care among the poor in Africa through service delivery, training and research in partnership with communities, governments, and donors.
African Networks for Health Research & Development (AFRO-NETS)
Hosted by SatelLife; includes links of partner organizations.
Broadcast HIV Africa
The African Broadcast Media Partnership Against HIV/AIDS. Launched December 1, 2006.
Center for African Family Studies
International NGO that seeks to strengthen the capacity of sub-Saharan African organizations working in family planning, HIV/AIDS, and related reproductive health services. In English and French.
Communities Responding to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic (CORE Initiative)
Funded by USAID and managed by CARE USA. Provides strategic assistance to community and faith-based groups in developing countries. Includes online resource center.
Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa
A description of available hospice and palliative care services with links to providers.
This web site features weekly broadcasts from Kimasomaso, a Swahili radio series which explores sexual and reproductive health issues with and by young people.
Network on Equity in Health in Southern Africa (EQUINET)
Priorities include monitoring, globalization and macroeconomic policy, governance, rights, resource allocation, and community participation.
Francophone AIDS network.
Society on AIDS in Africa
The goal of the society is decreasing the spread and mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS in the African continent.
Research Africa Database
This site lists research projects on HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB in Sub-Saharan Africa by country. Maintained by RTI International with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
Conferences and Events
5th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention 2009
Cape Town, South Africa, July 19-22, 2009.
News Sources and Periodicals
Africa Daily
All Africa: AIDS
Can also search by country and numerous other topics. Includes Panafrican News Agency stories in French.
Africa News Update
Articles from major African media compiled by Norwegian Council for Africa (NGO). Free email subscription to daily news digests.
Includes extensive country-level links.
Columbia University: Electronic Journal and Newspapers on Africa
DatelineHealth-Africa: HIV/AIDS News & Resources
A collection of news sources, discusion groups, and other resources related to HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Hans Zell Publishing: African Newspapers and Media
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
News service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in partnership with ReliefWeb. Reports on political, economic, and social issues affecting humanitarian efforts in Africa. Daily news organized by subregion and country. Includes PlusNews, an HIV/AIDS news service. Some services available in French and Kiswahili.
Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) Nigeria
Website offers HIV/AIDS information for the following West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Also contains information on the media and HIV/AIDS in Africa, links, and the Nigeria-AIDS eForum. In English and French.
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Based in Windhoek, Namibia; activities include facilitating accessibility of local and regional news.
A mailing list run by the Media Institute of Southern Africa. Provides local and regional news updates.
West Africa News
Part of the WorldNews Network.
Other Information Sources
African Council of AIDS Service Organisations (AfriCASO)
African Digital Library
Joint project of the Association of African Universities, Technikon SA, and netLibrary. Free to users in Africa.
Africa Education
Includes access to libraries and learning center. Sponsored by Technikon SA and the Association of African Universities.
An HIV/AIDS information portal for southern Africa developed by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC). Site aims to disseminate important information on HIV/AIDS to researchers, the health profession, the public, infected individuals, educators and policy makers
Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA)
Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
In English and French.
Réseau Africain de Recherche sur le Sida (RARS)
Based in Dakar; members include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.
A French-language information network for organisations and institutions working in the field of adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Francophone West Africa.
Stanford University Library: Africa
Extensive regional and country links.
University of Pennsylvania, African Studies Center
Includes extensive links and country-specific pages.