HIV Among Latinos
December 2, 2013
- Hispanics/Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV, relative to other races/ethnicities.
- The estimated new HIV infection rate among Hispanics/Latinos in 2010 in the United States was more than 3 times as high as that of whites.
- Socioeconomic factors such as poverty and language barriers may contribute to Hispanic/Latino HIV infection rates.
HIV infection is a serious threat to the health of the Hispanic/Latino1 community. In 2010, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for over one-fifth (21% or 9,800) of all new HIV infections in the United States and 6 dependent areas2 despite representing about 16% of the total US population.
New HIV Infections3
- In 2010, Hispanic/Latino men accounted for 87% (8,500) of all estimated new HIV infections among Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. Most (79% or 6,700) of the estimated new HIV infections among Hispanic/Latino men were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.
- Among Hispanic/Latino men who have sex with men (MSM),4 67% of estimated new HIV infections occurred in those under age 35.
- Hispanic women/Latinas accounted for 14% (1,400) of the estimated new infections among all Hispanics/Latinos in the United States in 2010.
- The estimated rate of new HIV infection among Hispanics/Latinos in the United States in 2010 was more than 3 times as high as that of whites (27.5 vs. 8.7 per 100,000 population).
Estimated Numbers of New HIV Infections in the United States for the Most Affected Subpopulations, 2010
HIV and AIDS Diagnoses5 and Deaths
- At some point in their lives, an estimated 1 in 36 Hispanic/Latino men and 1 in 106 Hispanic/Latino women will be diagnosed with HIV.
- In 2011, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 22% (11,057) of the estimated 50,199 new diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and 6 dependent areas. Of the 11,032 adult and adolescent Hispanics/Latinos diagnosed with HIV infection in 2011, 84% (9,256) were in men and 16% (1,776) were in women.
- Seventy-nine percent (7,266) of the estimated 9,256 HIV diagnoses among Hispanic/Latino men in the United States and dependent areas in 2011 were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. Eighty-six percent (1,522) of the estimated 1,776 HIV diagnoses among Hispanic/Latino women were attributed to heterosexual contact.6
- In 2009, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 19% (220,400) of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV infection in the United States.
- In 2011, an estimated 6,849 Hispanics/Latinos were diagnosed with AIDS in the United States and 6 dependent areas. This number has fluctuated since 2008.
- By the end of 2010, an estimated 118,783 Hispanics/Latinos who had ever been diagnosed with AIDS had died in the United States and 6 dependent areas. In 2010, HIV was the sixth leading cause of death among Hispanics/Latinos aged 25-34 in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death among Hispanics/Latinos aged 35-54.
A number of factors contribute to the HIV epidemic in Latino communities.
- There is a greater number of people living with HIV (prevalence) in Hispanic/Latino communities and Hispanics/Latinos tend to have sex with partners of the same race/ethnicity. This means that Hispanics/Latinos face a greater risk of HIV infection.
- While data suggest that most Hispanic/Latino men with HIV were infected through sexual contact with other men, the behavioral risk factors for HIV infection differ by country of birth. For example, men born in Puerto Rico have a higher percentage of diagnosed HIV infections attributed to injection drug use (IDU).
- The majority of HIV infections diagnosed among Hispanic/Latino men and women are attributed to sexual contact with men. Being unaware of a partners' risk factors (for example, IDU, multiple sexual partners, and male-to-male sexual contact) may place Hispanic/Latino men and women at increased risk for HIV.
- Research shows that the presence of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) makes it easier to become infected with HIV. Hispanics/Latinos have the third highest rates for STDs including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
- Cultural factors may affect the risk of HIV infection. Some Hispanics/Latinos may avoid seeking testing, counseling, or treatment if infected because of immigration status, stigma, or fear of discrimination. Traditional gender roles, cultural norms ("machismo," which stresses virility for Hispanics/Latino men, and "marianismo," which demands purity from Latina women), and the stigma around homosexuality may add to prevention challenges.
- Socioeconomic factors such as poverty, migration patterns, lower educational accomplishment, inadequate or no health insurance, limited access to health care, and language barriers may contribute to HIV infection among Hispanics/Latinos. Those factors may limit awareness about HIV infection risks and opportunities for counseling, testing, and treatment.
- Because of fear of disclosing immigration status and possible deportation, undocumented Hispanic/Latino immigrants may be less likely to access HIV prevention services, get an HIV test, or receive adequate treatment and care if they are living with HIV.
What CDC Is Doing
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners are pursuing a high-impact prevention approach to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention methods. Activities include
- Support and technical assistance to health departments and community-based organizations to deliver effective prevention interventions for Hispanics/Latinos, such as Connect (Connectémonos), ¡Cuídate!, and Modelo de Intervención Psicomédica (MIP). Because of their success with other populations, Many Men, Many Voices (3MV), Healthy Relationships, Partnership for Health, PROMISE, RESPECT, Safety Counts, and VOICES/VOCES have been adapted for use in the Hispanic/Latino communities.
- Phases of the Act Against AIDS campaign include Let's Stop HIV Together (Detengamos el VIH Juntos), which addresses stigma and raises awareness; Reasons/Razones, which encourages HIV testing among Latino/Hispanic gay bisexual men; and Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative, which was expanded in 2010 to include ASPIRA, the National Hispanic Council on Aging, and Farmworker Justice.
- The Care and Prevention in the United States Demonstration Project that supports increased testing and optimizes linkage to, retention in, and re-engagement with care and prevention services for newly diagnosed and previously diagnosed racial and ethnic minorities with HIV.
- The Comprehensive Human Immunodeficiency Virus Prevention Programs for Health Departments (Funding Opportunity Announcement PS 12-1201), a 5-year, $339 million HIV prevention initiative for health departments in states, territories, and select cities including those serving Hispanic/Latino clients.
Get answers to questions and locate HIV testing sites.
CDC HIV Web Site
Prevention information and resources.
National HIV and STD Testing Resources
Testing information and testing site locator.
CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN)
Technical assistance and resources.
Act Against AIDS
Treatment and clinical trials.
Comprehensive government HIV resources.
View the bibliography.
- Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.
- Dependent areas: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
- New HIV infections refer to HIV incidence or the number of people who are newly infected with HIV, whether they are aware of their infection or not.
- The term men who have sex with men (MSM) is used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates the behaviors that transmit HIV infection, rather than how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality.
- HIV and AIDS diagnoses refer to the estimated number of people diagnosed with HIV infection regardless of stage of disease at diagnosis, and the estimated number of people diagnosed with AIDS, respectively, during a given time period.
- Heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or be at high risk for, HIV infection.
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