World AIDS Day: Resources for a Quick Geographic Perspective

Saturday, December 1, is World AIDS Day. Use this collection of facts, figures, and context to put the day in geographic perspective.

Cut to the good stuff—links to maps, data-analysis tools, and other online geography resources focusing on AIDS and HIV.

Graphic courtesy UNAIDS

By the Numbers

According to the CIA World Factbook,, and UNAIDS, there are currently about 36.9 million people worldwide living with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) or AIDS itself. Of those, about:

  • 1.8 million are children under 15 years old.
  • 2.2 live in Europe and North America.
  • 5.2 million live in Asia.
  • 25.7 million live in Africa.
  • 7.2 million live in South Africa, the country with the largest number of people living with HIV.
    • Swaziland is the country with the largest proportion of people living with HIV, however, with more than 27% of adults infected with the virus.
Map by the World Health Organization

In the United States, about:

Putting it in Perspective

Why are some regions and communities affected more than others?

The Global HIV Prevention Coalition has studied the issue. Their analyses indicate that obstacles to effective HIV prevention efforts include poverty, gender inequality, inequity in health and the education system, discrimination against marginalized people, and unequal resource pathways. All of these factors are more common in areas with higher levels of HIV infection.

This article from Teaching Tolerance outlines how teachers can combat the fear and ignorance that hinders support for students, fellow educators, or parents with HIV or AIDS.

UNAIDS scorecards track prevention progress in priority Fast-Track countries, including on indicators for each of the five prevention pillars, namely adolescent girls and young women, key populations, condoms, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Each score is based on a combination of two dimensions: outcome (service utilization/behavior at the population level), and coverage (people covered by programs).
Graphic courtesy UNAIDS

Teachers Toolkit

If you would like to know more about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, there are ample resources available online with geographic statistics, histories, scientific studies, maps, and more, that convey staggering information about HIV/AIDS and its global impact.

Here are some great resources to get you started:


  • UNAIDS: AIDSinfo. This is our favorite, geography-rich resource for up-to-date information on HIV and AIDS. Find
    • maps
    • graphs
    • fact sheets
    • interactive tools to compare data
    • financial dashboards (this is still in beta, but definitely a resource to watch)


  • AIDSVu: Map. This interactive, online mapping tool lets users dig deep into local HIV/AIDS statistics (including age, race, and transmission categories), comparison charts, and health and wellness services. It’s a fantastic resource that allows students to localize an epidemic.




  • Teaching Tolerance: Tackling Biases about HIV and AIDS. Educators need education, too, especially when it comes to supporting students with HIV and AIDS.

2 thoughts on “World AIDS Day: Resources for a Quick Geographic Perspective

  1. The condition is really miserable. AIDS patients do need a lot care. Government should really look after such patients. I am really stressed to see this blog, i do believe these patients need a lot of care.One-sided views of what HIV is and how it affects those around us, have also largely contributed to the stigma and discrimination that is now affecting those living with HIV. Thanks To World’s Aids Day

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