J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Feb;35(6):e41. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e41.

Estimation of the Number of HIV Infections and Time to Diagnosis in the Korea

  • 1Graduate School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. jylee2000@gmail.com
  • 5Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 6Division of Infectious Diseases, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. roundbirch@gmail.com


Statistical data of undiagnosed people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV) are of great importance to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection control. This study estimated the total number of PLHIV using nationwide claims data.
This study used data of the incident HIV cases identified by the National Health Insurance System between 2009 and 2015. The number of patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) was identified by diagnoses or prescription records. The estimated number of PLHIV and the time to diagnosis were calculated from the incident numbers of HIV and AIDS cases using the HIV Modeling Tool of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Between 2009 and 2015, a total of 7,033 PLHIV and 2,899 AIDS patients were diagnosed. In 2009, the number of incident HIV cases was 873 (460 AIDS patients), increasing to 995 (337 AIDS patients) in 2015. Besides, the estimated number of prevalent cases was 10,753 in 2009, compared to 14,880 in 2015. Patients visiting health facilities accounted for 42.9% (4,616/10,753) in 2009 and 64.1% (9,544/14,880) in 2015. In 2009, there were 8,363 (77.8%) undiagnosed HIV cases, experiencing a decline to 6,215 (41.8%) in 2015. It took a mean of 6.96 years to diagnose after HIV infection.
This study estimates the total burden of HIV infection in Korea for the first time using an internationally recognized HIV modeling tool. Claims data can be used to estimate the number of undiagnosed cases by identifying the total number of PLHIV and AIDS patients visiting health facilities.


HIV Infection; AIDS; National Health Insurance System

MeSH Terms

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Health Facilities
HIV Infections*
Infection Control
National Health Programs
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