Seizing the moment
Zero new infections
Chapter 1: Advancing towards the three zeros


1.7 MILLION PEOPLE acquired HIV in 2019, more than 3 times the 2020 target

Adolescent girls and young women account for 1 IN 4 INFECTIONS in sub-Saharan Africa

690 000 LIVES were lost to AIDS-related illnesses in 2019, despite the availability of effective treatments

In 25 countries, MORE THAN 50% of adults have discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV

62% of new adult HIV infections globally are among KEY POPULATIONS AND THEIR SEXUAL PARTNERS

The vision of the global HIV response is to achieve three zeros: zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination. Ten years ago, when this vision was first articulated, the three zeros were largely aspirational—a distant dream. Five years later, in 2015, the three zeros served as the basis for the HIV targets within the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Measurable targets were set for 2030, and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly later articulated interim 2020 milestones in the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS:

  • To reduce new HIV infections to fewer than 500 000 by 2020.
  • To reduce AIDS-related deaths to fewer than 500 000 by 2020.
  • To eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination by 2020.


The first two targets are approximately 75% reductions compared to a 2010 baseline, using the epidemiological estimates from 2016.1 The elimination target is based on the human rights principle that a single case of discrimination globally is one too many.

With the end of 2020 approaching, the latest data from countries show both progress and challenges. As the complex reality of HIV epidemics is increasingly understood, more HIV responses are sharpening their ability to identify gaps and develop strategies to reach people who are being left behind. However, too few countries have taken sufficient action to reach the interim milestones, leaving the world off track to achieve the three zeros by 2030.