Response Monitoring and Analysis Unit
Evidences, Strategy and Results Department
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
Postal Address:20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 (0)22 791 2927
Fax: +41 (0)22 791 4798
Epidemiology and Analysis Division
Telephone: +41 (0)22 791 4601
Fax: +41 (0)22 791 4251, +41 (0)22 791 4812
AIDS deaths are defined as the estimated number of adults and children who died due to AIDS. AIDS, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), a virus that weakens the immune system and destroys the body’s ability to fight off infection and disease, which can ultimately lead to death.
Estimates of AIDS mortality are based on estimates of the numbers of adults and children who are HIV-infected, and estimations of survival times from infection with HIV to death for adults and children infected with HIV. The survival time from infection with HIV to death is modified by the provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Where insufficient data are available for a country, UNAIDS does not generate data for this country.
The global estimates are representative of the national estimates for a given year.
Civil registration systems are the best source to obtain an estimate of the mortality due to AIDS. However, in most countries with generalized epidemics, coverage of civil registration is too low to provide useful information on AIDS mortality. Some countries have local demographic surveillance or general information on adult mortality from censuses and surveys that can help estimate mortality levels due to AIDS. Estimating mortality in countries with low-level or concentrated epidemics is even more difficult. Some at-risk groups are likely to have different background mortality, in other words they are more prone to other causes of death (for example, injecting drug users are vulnerable to fatal drug overdoses and other life-threatening hazards). All this can have substantial effects on patterns of mortality. Unfortunately, country-specific data on mortality and on changes in risk behaviour are seldom available. However, some countries with low-level/concentrated epidemics have well-functioning vital registration systems that include the cause of death.
In the past several years, for example, UNAIDS and World Health Organization (WHO), along with their technical partners (including East-West Center, Family Health International, The Futures Group, the US Census Bureau and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), carried out a series of regional training workshops in which epidemiologists from over 150 countries were trained in the HIV estimation process. Such efforts have led to much greater involvement by national programmes, national statistics offices and other government and academic organizations in the production of estimates. The result has been better quality estimates, due to the use of additional data and the application of local knowledge. UNAIDS and WHO continue to work with countries, partner organizations and experts to improve data collection. These efforts will ensure that the best possible estimates are available to assist governments, non-governmental organizations and others in gauging the status of the epidemic and monitoring the effectiveness of prevention and care efforts.
There is no treatment of missing values. When the information needed to calculate the indicator is not available, the indicator is not estimated.
Data are available for approximately 147 countries.
Data are collected for the total number of AIDS deaths, as well as separately for adults 15+ and children less than 15 years of age.
The lag between the reference year and actual production is from the period of regional workshops conducted every 2 years to publication of regional estimates in December, followed by publication of country estimates in the Global Report the following July.
Regional and global estimates are estimated using the epidemiological tools described in
The mid point estimates, upper bounds and lower bounds of the HIV global incidence, prevalence and AIDS deaths indicators, used for the production of the 2010 MDG report, can be seen here.
Regional estimates are released annually in the Epidemic Update in December. National estimates are released in the Global Report every 2 years in July.