HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals

Update: Use the HIV presentation material in your own lecture – Download here.

In this talk at the TED conference in Feb. 2009, Hans Rosling explains the HIV epidemic.
He converts the best available data from UNAIDS and WHO into understandable Gapminder bubbles.

The two key messages are that the global HIV epidemic has reached a “steady state” with 1% of the adult world population infected and that there are huge differences in HIV occurrence between and within African countries. Many African countries have the same, relatively low, HIV levels as can be found in most of the world, whereas 50% of the world’s HIV infected persons live in a few countries in Eastern and Southern Africa (with 4% of the world population).

Hans Rosling closes his speech by summarizing probable reasons for the high HIV burden in parts of Eastern and Southern Africa and he also claims that the focus must be on preventing further HIV transmission in these highly affected populations.

Hans also did mention that male circumcision has been proven to reduce the transmission of HIV, but unfortunately this statement had to be removed due to a confusing wording (on Hans’ request).

A caveat:

It’s challenging to summarize the present understanding of the very high HIV levels in a few countries, because there is no clear-cut consensus among researchers. The final remarks (last 2 minutes of the video) will therefore be expanded in a later video lecture.

Download movie in high resolution

Video to desktop (Zipped MP4)

Video to iTunes (MP4)


Related Content

HIV in Gapminder World

Gapminder HIV Chart 2009 (PDF)

Speeches from 2006 & 2007.

16 thoughts on “HIV: New facts and stunning data visuals

  1. Thanks for reminding me of this great TED presentation. Emily Oster’s is another that speaks compellingly about HIV in the world, although not with the great Gapminder data. I think I’ll post these on my blog soon too, as well as links to the gapminder interactive tool. Very cool stuff. Thanks.


  2. Hi. the last chart of his speech on HIV, I did not quite see–very fast.

    Is that chart different than the first chart and is it available?

    Was that a chart of concurrency and HIV prevalence?

    Finally, really too bad that male circumcision was not emphasized. Hans missed the boat on that one.


    Dr K

  3. The link to the video:
    “Video to desktop (Zipped MP4)”
    Is a mistake – it is a link to a wrong video from 2006!!!

  4. Prevalence depends on incidence (influx into the pool of HIV ) and mortality (outflux). I would love to see data on incidence beautifully represented by Professor because that would show the ramifications of HIV prevention strategies. We have this from USAIDS, “In one site, Masaka, incidence fell from 7.6 per thousand per year in 1990 to 3.2 per thou-sand per year by 1998.”

    If one looks at condom distribution (graph on page 11 of, one sees that only in 1996-98 that condom distribution hit full tilt when most of the strides at HIV reduction had already been made. In contrast, South Africa has been awash in condoms with resulting continued high HIV infection rates. The conclusion of the USAIDS report was that faith based initiatives deserve much of the credit, but it seems that no one else wants to acknowledge that.

    See the website of one such organization here, . They have a blog where discussion would be welcome: (disclaimer: I am not an official with UCE but I do support them financially.)

  5. Robert Mclean is right on the silence on faith based contribution. my wonder is why the incidence or prevalence seems to be very lopw in Islamic world. Because of strict sharia law on sexual relations? refer to UNAIDS world chart on prevalence!

  6. Look at the South Africa bubble growing/rising circa 2004 – this was when Nelson Mandela became president, and he relaxed border control, resulting in an influx of (infected) immigrants.

  7. Send Mbeki and his health minister to the Hague for crimes against humanity.
    genocide is genocide even if its not at the end of a gun, but rather denying your population access to ARV’s

  8. For the statistics that were used, I am curious as to how the UNAIDS data changes were implemented, if they were. UNAIDS was forced to change its measuring practices and estimates due to the results of various household surveys and several excellent studies by independent researchers. Since then UNAIDS has also tried to recalculate its previous estimates, which were too high, for the past twenty years. Which statistics are used in this presentation? Prof. Rosling states UNAIDS but which series of calculations by UNAIDS? Equally, is he included these various household surveys and independent data? Finally, I find it interesting that Prof. Rosling never mentions this debate or the significant statistical changes it has caused. Is this planned for a future date?
    Thank you for making this information so readily available and presenting it in such a flexible and easily viewed manner.

  9. Robert Mclean is right on the silence on faith based contribution. my wonder is why the incidence or prevalence seems to be very lopw in Islamic world. Because of strict sharia law on sexual relations? refer to UNAIDS world chart on prevalence!

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