The Global Fund / John Rae

The Global Fund partnership has achieved what was once considered impossible. From the peak of the HIV crisis in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we have cut annual AIDS-related deaths and new infections by half. Of the 38 million people living with HIV, 25.4 million are on antiretroviral therapy today – 20.1 million in Global Fund-supported countries.

The fight against HIV and AIDS – the most recent deadly pandemic before COVID-19 – demonstrates how a united world, led by strong communities, can work together to drive a disease into retreat. But as the epidemic evolves, so must our responses.

In countries where the Global Fund invests
The Global Fund / John Rae

Today, with access to treatment, an HIV-positive person can expect to have the same lifespan as someone who is HIV-negative.

One of the cornerstones of this lifesaving treatment is the use of antiretrovirals (ARVs). While ARV therapy is not a cure for HIV, people living with HIV who are taking effective antiretroviral therapy and whose level of HIV is suppressed to undetectable levels will not transmit HIV sexually. Learn more

Global Fund partners work to combat the stigma and discrimination that often discourage people from seeking this lifesaving treatment.


HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus, which targets the immune system and weakens people's defense systems. AIDS is acquired immune deficiency syndrome, the most advanced stage of HIV infection.

The Global Fund / John Rae

One crucial strategy in the battle against HIV is preventing transmission from mothers to newborns. Eighty-two percent of HIV-positive mothers received treatment to stop the virus from infecting their babies. Global Fund-supported programs and countries provided such treatment to 718,000 women in 2019.

The Global Fund / John Rae
The Global Fund / Brett Gieseke

Goodness Mbatha and Nqabile Mbatha are more than mother and daughter, and their bond is clear to all who meet them. When Goodness got pregnant with Nqabile at 23, she knew she was living with HIV. She enrolled on treatment to prevent passing HIV to Nqabile and succeeded.

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Expanding treatment is vitally important, but it must be paired with innovative and relevant prevention efforts. This is particularly true for adolescent girls and young women, who continue to be disproportionately affected by the epidemic. In sub-Saharan Africa, there are twice as many HIV infections among 15-24-year-old girls and young women as boys and men in the same age group. In the hardest-hit countries, there are six times more.

The youth population is expected to double in the next decade in sub-Saharan Africa, so addressing the staggering HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women is critical to preventing a catastrophic epidemic.

"Ending the HIV epidemic isn’t just about infections averted, it’s about potential unleashed."
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund

Key populations for HIV

“Key populations” is a general term for specific groups of people who experience increased vulnerability to HIV, tuberculosis or malaria. The “key” in key populations reflects that reaching these groups with prevention, testing, treatment and care, and supporting them to overcome barriers to services, is essential to ending the epidemics.

Key populations for HIV include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers, and transgender people, and people in prison. People in these groups are socially marginalized, often criminalized and face a range of human rights abuses that increase their vulnerability to HIV. Those living with HIV are also considered as a key population.

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The Global Fund / John Rae

Out in the open

HIV challenges society to confront personal, often taboo, topics in an open and honest way. Thanks to bold and committed activists, community organizers and health professionals, the walls are coming down, little by little.

To reach everyone in need with prevention, care and treatment, the Global Fund and partners are moving to a differentiated care approach – one that makes services more accessible and tailored to at-risk populations and people living with HIV.

The Global Fund / Jonas Gratzer
The Global Fund / Sam Wolson

Male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by around 60%. But this is not common practice in many communities hard-hit by HIV. The Global Fund supports programs that encourage this under-used, but effective prevention strategy.

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Women’s social and economic marginalization puts them at higher risk for HIV. Global Fund partners recognize that in such circumstances, a bio-medical approach to HIV is insufficient. We must address the root causes of vulnerability.

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The Global Fund / John Rae
The Global Fund / Jiro Ose

People engaged in sex work often live in the shadows, on the margins of society. They may face harassment, prosecution and violence, and may be unable to negotiate the use of condoms to prevent HIV. In such cases, the people most in need of prevention, counseling, testing and treatment are often the least likely to receive these services. Global Fund partners offer innovative service delivery programs that are accessible and free from discrimination.

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To end HIV, keep girls in school

Tens of thousands of South African girls are infected with HIV every year. For an adolescent girl, dropping out of school significantly increases the risk that she’ll be infected with HIV.

Learn how human rights impact AIDS, TB and malaria.

Human Rights

Published 14 September 2020