Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS In Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Globally

HIV/AIDS in Mexico1

  • National HIV prevalence remains low in Mexico (0.3% in 15-49 year olds), but the epidemic varies greatly within this large country. Nearly 90% of AIDS cases (official notifications) are attributed to unprotected sexual relations.

  • An estimated 198,000 people in Mexico were living with HIV (not just AIDS) at the end of 2007. Nearly 80% of AIDS cases in Mexico are among young people and adults between the ages of 15 and 44.

  • Unprotected sex between men is believed to account for more than half (57%) of HIV infections recorded in Mexico by the end of 2006.2

  • In the first half of 2008, 21% of new AIDS diagnoses in Mexico were among women, and there are indications that heterosexual transmission of HIV is increasing, as more women are infected by their male partners.

  • In 2006, 4,944 Mexicans died of AIDS-related complications.3

  • As of March 2008, an estimated 46,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Mexico were receiving antiretroviral treatment.4

HIV/AIDS in Latin America5 and the Caribbean

  • At the end of 2007, an estimated 230,000 people in the Caribbean were living with HIV, including 20,000 people who became infected in 2007.6

  • The Caribbean is the second most heavily affected area of the world (after sub- Saharan Africa), with an estimated prevalence of 1.1%.6

  • According to UNAIDS, available data indicate that most of the epidemics in the Caribbean appear to have stabilized, while a few have declined in urban areas. This is particularly evident in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which are home to the largest epidemics in the region.6

  • An estimated 1.7 million people in Latin America are living with HIV/AIDS.

  • In 2007, approximately 63,000 people in Latin America died of AIDS-related complications.

  • An estimated 140,000 people in Latin America became newly infected with HIV in 2007.

  • Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico are home to the biggest epidemics in this region, primarily due to their large populations. Brazil alone accounts for more than 40% of all PLHIV in Latin America.

  • Unprotected sex between men is an important factor in the epidemics of Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, as well as in several Central American countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

  • In recent years, unprotected sex in Argentina has become the main route of HIV transmission. Around 80% of new HIV diagnoses in 2005 were attributed to unprotected sexual intercourse, mainly between men and women. Mirroring other countries in the region, the highest HIV prevalence has been found among men who have sex with men.7

  • Studies of prevalence among female sex workers in Latin America show a range of between 0% and 6.3%. Injection drug use is also a factor in the epidemic in some Latin American countries.

  • Around 390,000 people in Latin America and the Caribbean were receiving antiretroviral therapy as of December 2007, representing 62% of the estimated 630,000 people in the region who are in need of treatment. This includes 360,000 people in Latin America (64% of the 560,000 in need of treatment) and 30,000 people in the Caribbean (43% of the 70,000 people in need).8

  • Access to antiretroviral treatment in Latin America has grown considerably, thanks to programmes in several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Compared with rates of coverage in other low- and middle-income countries, Latin America boasts the highest level of coverage (64%, compared with 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 25% in East, South and Southeast Asia).8 However, the overall size of the epidemic in Latin America is smaller than in these other regions.

Global HIV/AIDS Facts6

  • At the end of 2007, an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV.

  • Worldwide, an estimated 2.7 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2007.

  • In the same year, 2 million people died of AIDS-related complications.

  • Southern Africa remains the global epicenter of the epidemic. Two-thirds of all people living with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa (22 million).

  • At the end of 2007, about 3 million people living with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment. This represents just 31% of the estimated 9.7 million people in need of treatment worldwide.8

NOTE: The data in this fact sheet represent the most recent statistics available from UNAIDS/WHO and CENSIDA as of 25 June 2008. Because statistics are updated regularly, please consult the UNAIDS and CENSIDA websites for the most recent estimates.


  1. Unless otherwise noted, all data for Mexico are from the website of CENSIDA, Mexico's National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS (CENSIDA), online at: www.salud.gob.mx/conasida/. Accessed on 25 July 2008.

  2. Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)/World Health Organization (WHO), Fact Sheet on HIV in Latin America (December 2006). Accessed online on 29 May 2008.

  3. CENSIDA, Overview of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Mexico. Accessed online on 25 July 2008.

  4. Centro Nacional para la Prevención y el Control del VIH/SIDA, Dirección de Investigación Operativa. Numeralia del VIH/SIDA EN MEXICO, Datos al 31 de marzo del 2008.

  5. Unless otherwise noted, Latin American data are from the UNAIDS Fact Sheet on Latin America. Accessed on 25 July 2008.

  6. UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, August 2008.

  7. UNAIDS, Fact Sheet: 2007 AIDS epidemic update -- regional summary: Latin America. Acceso: 29 de mayo de 2008.

  8. WHO, UNAIDS and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Towards Universal Access: Scaling up priority HIV/AIDS interventions in the health sector: Progress Report 2008. (June 2008)