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At a glance: HIV in Bangladesh

A growing epidemic 

Key statistics

In 2018:

  • 13,800 people with HIV 
  • 0.01 % adult HIV prevalence 
  • 865 new HIV infections 
  • 1,072 AIDS-related deaths 
  • 5,000 people on antiretroviral treatment 

Progress towards targets

The current targets for HIV testing and treatment are called the 95-95-95 targets and must be reached by 2025 in order to end AIDS by 2030.  

There is limited data about the HIV epidemic in Bangladesh, including progress towards the 95-95-95 targets.

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Did you know?

Although Bangladesh has low HIV prevalence, it is one of seven countries in the Asia and the Pacific region where new infections are increasing.  

Prevention

Preventing HIV in Bangladesh focuses on: 

Did you know?  

HIV prevention efforts are only reaching a small number of the people who need it – only 35% of people who inject drugs, 25% of female sex workers, 24% of men who have sex who men and 40% of transgender people (sometimes referred to as ‘hijra’) are estimated to use HIV prevention services.   

Testing

Testing for HIV in Bangladesh is: 

  • provided as part of antenatal care  
  • provided by non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations 
  • offered separately from HIV counselling services. 

Did you know?  

It is estimated that around half of men in Bangladesh who have sex who men are also marred to women. But no specialist testing programmes exist for these couples or for women in relationships with men who have sex with men. 

Treatment

Treatment for HIV in Bangladesh is: 

  • available in a limited number of health facilities, for adults and children  
  • dependent on CD4 count  
  • not covered by annual health insurance, so can be expensive 
  • not offered alongside viral load monitoring 
  • available alongside adherence support (in some facilities). 

Did you know? 

Many people with HIV are reluctant to access HV treatment because of the way they are likely to be treated by healthcare staff: research suggests around 80% of nurses and 90% of doctors have discriminatory attitudes towards people with HIV.  

Local context

Because HIV prevalence among the general population in Bangladesh is low, the HIV epidemic has not been viewed as a priority. But in recent years, HIV infections in Bangladesh have been rising, driven by poverty, injecting drug use, gender inequality, gender-based violence, migration, a highly mobile population and high levels of transactional sex. A lack of treatment for people with HIV is also fuelling transmission. 

There is a serious lack of HIV data in Bangladesh. This makes it hard to get a clear picture of the epidemic and to inform effective programmes. However, it’s clear that a rapid expansion of HV prevention and treatment services is needed for Bangladesh to begin to reverse its HIV epidemic.  

The Bangladeshi Government needs to ensure the limited resources available for HIV are spent more strategically to have the maximum impact. Bangladesh is currently relying on external resources to fund its HIV care facilities and prevention programmes. In 2021/22, the Bangladeshi Government allocated 5% of its total budget on health, a less than 1% increase from the previous year. 

The legal environment in Bangladesh stops HIV prevention, testing and treatment services from reaching the groups that most need them. Stigma and discrimination also stops marginalised groups from accessing services. Homosexuality is illegal, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Sex work and drug use are also criminalised. Abortion is only legal in limited circumstances if the woman’s life is at risk. 

There are no education policies to guide the delivery of HIV and sexuality education in primary or secondary school or further education. In 2014, only 13% of adolescent girls and young women in Bangladesh fully knew how to prevent HIV. 

Next: At a glance: HIV in India

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  • Last updated: 15 March 2022
  • Last full review: 01 March 2022
  • Next full review: 01 March 2025
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