HIV and the Church

Posted by Ashley Eure

By Ashley Eure

According to UNAIDS, 2.3 million people gained access to HIV treatments in 2013, increasing the number of people accessing ART to almost 13 million.(1)  However, worldwide, this number falls far below the number of people in need of lifesaving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The percentage of people living with HIV who were receiving treatment was found to be highest in Western Europe and North America, at 51% and in Latin America, at 45%. In the Middle East and North Africa, the areas with the lowest coverage, just 11% of people in need of ART are receiving treatment.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest burden of HIV, treatment is available to only 4 of every 10 people living with HIV. This number is even lower in countries such as Nigeria, where only two of every ten people living with HIV has access to treatment. Within sub-Saharan Africa, 67% of men and 57% of women living with HIV are not receiving antiretroviral therapy.(1)

These results highlight the need to increase HIV knowledge and testing, as only 45% of people living with HIV know their status. Of those that know their status, an estimated 86% are on antiretroviral therapy and studies suggest that, among those who stay on treatment, an estimated 76% achieve viral suppression.

Scaling up access to treatment is key in saving lives and preventing the spread of HIV. Recent data demonstrates that for every 10% increase in treatment coverage there is a 1% decline in the percentage of new infections among people living with HIV.(2)

Local churches can play a role in helping people access treatment and testing. Visit to learn how your church can offer testing or help direct people to testing, and watch this video to hear how the church can help with treatment.


1. UNAIDS 2014 Gap Report

2. UNAIDS Press Release July 16, 2014

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