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What regions of the world have the highest rates of HIV infection?

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Quick Answer

Although it only accounts for 5 percent of the world's population, the Southern Africa sub-region has the highest rates of HIV, according to Unicef. As of 2009, 7.3 percent of people in South Africa had HIV, with 48 percent of the world's HIV infections occurring there.

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Full Answer

As of 2009, approximately 22.5 million people were living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, and approximately 4.9 million people were living with HIV in Asia, according to the Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

HIV, known as the human immunodeficiency virus, attacks the immune system, inhibiting the body's ability to fight off infections and diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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