The first case of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh was detected in 1989.
Since then 1495 cases of HIV/AIDS have been reported (as of
December 2008). However UNAIDS estimates that the number of
people living with HIV in the country may be as high as 12,000, which
is within the range of the low estimate by UNICEF's State of the
World's Children Report 2009. The overall prevalence of HIV in Bangladesh is less than
1%, however, high levels of HIV infection have been found among injecting drug users (7%
in one part of the capital city, Dhaka). Due to the limited access to voluntary counseling and
testing services, very few Bangladeshi's are aware of their HIV status.
Although still considered to be a low prevalence country, Bangladesh remains extremely
vulnerable to an HIV epidemic, given its dire poverty, overpopulation, gender inequality and
high levels of transactional sex. The emergence of a generalized HIV epidemic would be a
disaster that poverty-stricken Bangladesh could ill-afford. It is estimated that without any
intervention the prevalence in the general adult population could be as high as 2% in 2012
and 8% by 2025
Bangladesh is in the unique position to succeed where several other developing countries
have not: to keep the AIDS epidemic from expanding beyond this current level by initiating
comprehensive and strategically viable preventative measures, avoiding a gradual spread of
HIV infection from high-risk groups to the general population.