HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia
A USAID Brief
Ethiopia’s HIV/AIDS epidemic is classified as “generalized” and continues to impact every sector of society.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), approximately 3.2 million Ethiopians are living with HIV/AIDS, though the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated a total of 2.1 million at the end of 2001, with an adult prevalence of 6.4 percent.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that life expectancy in Ethiopia
will decline to about 42 years due to AIDS by 2010; without AIDS, life expectancy would be 55 years.
According to the MOH, sexual contact and perinatal transmission are the predominant modes of HIV transmission. Currently, 87 percent of all HIV/AIDS infections result from heterosexual
As of October 1997, men comprised about 61 percent of reported AIDS cases. HIV prevalence among pregnant women in Addis Ababa increased from 5 percent in 1989 to 18 percent
As of 2001, about 200,000 children under age 15 were living with HIV/AIDS. Reversing years of progress in child survival, AIDS increased Ethiopia’s infant mortality rate by 7 percent
from 1995 to 2000. According to the MOH, as of December 2001, an estimated 1 million Ethiopian children had been orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
Most HIV infections in Ethiopia occur among young people in their teens and 20s, and young women are particularly vulnerable. The number of HIV-positive women in the 15- to 19-year-old age group is much higher than the number of HIV-positive men in the same age
group. This is due to earlier initiation of sexual activity by women and the fact that their older partners often have more than one sexual partner.
HIV prevention and control efforts by the MOH
began in September 1987. Activities were
directed entirely from a central MOH office and
were focused primarily on the population in
Addis Ababa, though 85 percent of the population
lives in rural areas. In 1993, HIV/AIDS/
STI prevention and control activities were
decentralized to the regional health bureaus.
Currently, an AIDS/sexually transmitted disease
(STD) Control Team within the MOH provides
technical assistance to regional offices, and
coordinates activities and policies from a
national perspective. Map of Ethiopia: PCL Map Collection, University of Texas