Indicator 20. HIV incidence, treatment rate, and mortality (modified MDG Indicator)

Rationale and definition:

This indicator measures the spread of HIV and the ability for countries to provide treatment and services to those who are living with HIV. The incidence aspect measures the estimated number of new HIV infections per 1000 population, as well as treatment rates with anti- retroviral therapy (ART) by age group. This tracks progress towards reducing HIV infection and improving access to treatment. Treatment describes the percent of people living with HIV who are receiving ART, which consists of the use of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress HIV and stop the progression of the disease. It adds tracking of mortality from HIV/AIDS. The mortality rate is the estimated number of people that have died due to HIV as a ratio to people living with HIV.


By sex, age and urban/rural. UNAIDS also recommends that whenever possible, disaggregation should be based on key populations: sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs. It can also be further determined nationally who is at greater risk of HIV infection.

Comments and limitations:

It is important that all HIV indicators are measured for all age groups, as some of the biggest gaps in ART are in the treatment of children.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Administrative data from health facilities are the most reliable, but HIV incidence is also measured directly in surveys or estimated in models. The treatment rate is available from health facilities, but these are rare in developing countries so models are often used. The mortality rate is also calculated using models. These data are reported annually by countries to UNAIDS.1

Potential lead agency or agencies:


  1. UNAIDS (2013), 30.