Countries With The Highest Rates of HIV/AIDs

Jun 25, 2019 Kayode Oseh

Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus that weakens the human immune system and can lead to AIDS. If detected early, HIV can be managed to prevent it from progressing to the final stage of AIDS. HIV attacks CD4 cells exposing the infected person to opportunistic infections. Proper diagnosis, treatment, and medical care are essential factors to proper management and control of AIDS which has no cure. While HIV is majorly a sexually transmitted disease, the virus can be transmitted through blood transfusion and during birth or breastfeeding, as well as through a few other means.

Below are countries that have high rate of HIV infected person in the world


Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection worldwide, with a total of 27.20% of the population living with HIV/AIDS. Most of the infections in Swaziland are transmitted through low condom use, transactional sex, and sexual violence. Women are most affected by the epidemic with more than 31% reporting an HIV-positive status, compared to 20% in men. High levels of gender violence against women, polygamy, and early marriages to older men contribute to the high rates of infection among women.


25.00% of the population of Lesotho is infected with HIV/AIDS, making it the third-highest rate in the world. Most of the infected persons are members of the disadvantaged groups of the country who have either no voice or are riddled with poverty. Such groups include women, young people aged between 15 and 24 and herd boys who have little access to decent employment, formal education and proper medical care. Control of mother-to-child infections has played a vital role in minimizing the spread of the disease.


Botswana has the world’s second largest prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS with 21.90% of the population living with the disease. Female sex workers have the highest rate of HIV infection. As in Swaziland, more of the female adult population is affected by the epidemic compared to the male population. Forced marriages and gender-based violence owing to gender inequalities in the country have both played a significant role. Though Botswana has one of the best mechanisms for dealing with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, much work remains to be done.

South Africa

South Africa has the fourth highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate with 18.90% of the population living with HIV/AIDS. Lack of education, misguided beliefs about the disease, and sexual violence have contributed to these high rates. Women under the age of 40 are mainly infected, as well as pregnant women. The black population within South Africa has been disproportionately affected.

Efforts Towards Reducing HIV/AIDS Prevalence

Countries with the highest rates of HIV infection have taken several measures towards reducing the rate of infection among the population. Some of these steps include mass education about HIV/AIDS, the introduction of antiretroviral therapy to infected persons, the introduction of gender equality policies to reduce gender inequality and encouraging infected women to take the necessary precautions to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

Effects of HIV/AIDS on Society

HIV/AIDS has far-reaching effects on the economic, cultural, and social spheres of society. The epidemic has increased mortality rates among the infected persons leading to a decline in the economic productivity of these individuals. High HIV/AIDS prevalence increases the levels of poverty as much of the finances are spent on medication for opportunistic ailment associated with the disease.

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