Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) continue to be significant global public health challenges. While HIV/AIDS affects populations worldwide, certain key populations are disproportionately affected. This abstract provides an overview of the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS among key populations from a global perspective. Key populations are defined as groups that face a higher risk of HIV transmission due to a combination of biological, behavioral, and social factors. These populations include men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs (PWID), sex workers, transgender individuals, and prisoners. Due to factors such as stigma, discrimination, criminalization, and limited access to healthcare, key populations often experience barriers in accessing prevention, testing, and treatment services. Among MSM, HIV prevalence rates are consistently higher compared to the general population in many countries. Unprotected anal intercourse, multiple sexual partners, and low HIV testing rates contribute to the high burden of HIV/AIDS in this population. Similarly, PWID face a heightened risk of HIV transmission through the sharing of contaminated needles and syringes. Lack of harm reduction programs, including needle exchange and opioid substitution therapy, further exacerbate the HIV epidemic among PWID. Sex workers are another key population disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Factors such as inconsistent condom use, limited access to healthcare, and the criminalization of sex work contribute to the increased vulnerability to HIV infection. Transgender individuals also face a higher risk, with HIV prevalence rates often exceeding those of the general population. Factors such as discrimination, violence, and limited access to gender-affirming healthcare contribute to their heightened vulnerability. Prisoners represent a unique key population at risk of HIV/AIDS. Overcrowding, lack of access to condoms and harm reduction services, and sexual violence within correctional facilities contribute to HIV transmission among incarcerated individuals. Upon release, the transition from prison to the community poses challenges in maintaining continuity of care and preventing new infections. The global response to HIV/AIDS among key populations has emphasized the importance of tailored interventions, including targeted prevention strategies, access to comprehensive healthcare services, and efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination. Approaches such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), harm reduction programs, and community-led initiatives have shown promise in reducing HIV transmission and improving health outcomes. To achieve meaningful progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, it is crucial to prioritize the needs of key populations in global, regional, and national HIV strategies. Addressing structural barriers, ensuring human rights protections, and fostering community engagement are essential to effectively combat the HIV epidemic among key populations and achieve the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
Share this article