Number of new HIV infections

What you should know about this indicator


HIV and AIDS has become a major public health problem in many countries and monitoring the course of the epidemic and impact of interventions is crucial. Both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2021 United Nations Political Declaration have set goals of reducing new HIV infections.


Number of people who acquired HIV during the reporting period

Method of measurement

Methods for monitoring incidence can vary depending on the epidemic setting and are typically categorized either as direct or indirect measures. Direct measurement at a population level is preferred but can often be difficult to obtain. As a result, most if not all countries rely on indirect measures or triangulate direct and indirect methods.

Strategies for directly measuring HIV incidence include longitudinal follow-up and repeat testing among individuals who do not have HIV infection and estimation using a laboratory test for recent HIV infection and clinical data in the population. Longitudinal monitoring is often costly and difficult to perform at a population level. Laboratory testing of individuals to determine the recency of infection also raises cost and complexity challenges since a nationally representative population-based survey is typically required to obtain estimates.

Indirect methods most frequently rely on estimates constructed from mathematical modelling tools, such as Spectrum or the AIDS Epidemic Model. These models may incorporate geographical and population-specific HIV surveys, surveillance, case reporting, mortality, programme and clinical data and, in some instances, assumptions about risk behaviour and HIV transmission. In some instances, countries may wish to triangulate these data with other sources of estimates of the number of people newly infected, including from serial population-based HIV prevalence estimates or estimates of HIV prevalence in young, recently exposed populations.

Note that case-based surveillance systems capturing newly reported people acquiring HIV infection should not be used as a direct source of estimating the number of people newly infected with HIV in the reporting year. Because of reporting delays and underdiagnosis, newly reported cases may not reflect the actual rate of people becoming newly infected. This information may be useful, however, for triangulation or validation purposes, especially when combined with tests for the recency of HIV infection.

Disaggregated data reported for the numerator should be used to monitor progress towards eliminating new child infections and reducing the number of new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women to below 100 000 per year.

Method of estimation

Modelling, using multiple inputs specific to the HIV epidemic context, is typically used to obtain an estimate of the HIV prevalence rate. UNAIDS and WHO support most countries to produce estimates of HIV incidence annually using Spectrum.

Number of new HIV infections
Number of people who acquired HIV during the reporting period
World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
January 3, 2024
Next expected update
January 2025
Date range

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The GHO data repository is WHO's gateway to health-related statistics for its 194 Member States. It provides access to over 1000 indicators on priority health topics including mortality and burden of diseases, the Millennium Development Goals (child nutrition, child health, maternal and reproductive health, immunization, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected diseases, water and sanitation), non communicable diseases and risk factors, epidemic-prone diseases, health systems, environmental health, violence and injuries, equity among others.

Retrieved on
January 3, 2024
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Health Organization. 2024. Global Health Observatory data repository. Accessed on 2024-01-03

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.


How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Number of new HIV infections”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Health Organization. Retrieved from [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Number of new HIV infections” [dataset]. World Health Organization, “Global Health Observatory” [original data]. Retrieved July 19, 2024 from