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HIV Among Latinos

March 18, 2015

Fast Facts
  • Hispanics or Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV, relative to other races/ethnicities.
  • The estimated new HIV infection rate among Hispanics or 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 or Latino HIV infection rates.

HIV Among Latinos

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.

The Numbers

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 (MSM4), 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

Estimated Numbers of New HIV Infections in the United States for the Most Affected Subpopulations, 2010

Abbreviations: MSM, men who have sex with men; IDU, injection drug user.

HIV and AIDS Diagnoses5 and Deaths

  • In 2013, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 23% (10,888) of the estimated 48,145 new diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and 6 dependent areas. Of those, 85% (9,266) were in men, 15% (1,610) were in women and less than 1% (13) were in children.
  • Eighty-one percent (7,527) of the estimated 9,266 HIV diagnoses among Hispanic/Latino men in the United States and dependent areas in 2013 were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact. Eighty-six percent (1,389) of the estimated 1,610 HIV diagnoses among Hispanic/Latino women were attributed to heterosexual contact.f
  • In 2011, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 20% (242,000) of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV infection in the United States.
  • In 2013, an estimated 5,773 Hispanics/Latinos were diagnosed with AIDS in the United States and 6 dependent areas.
  • By the end of 2012, an estimated 125,051 Hispanics/Latinos who had ever been diagnosed with AIDS had died in the United States and 6 dependent areas.
  • In 2013, HIV was the eighth leading cause of death among Hispanics/Latinos aged 25-34 in the United States and the ninth leading cause of death among Hispanics/Latinos aged 35-54.
  • In 2011, data from the National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS) and the Medical Monitoring Project showed that 80.8% of Hispanics/Latinos with diagnosed HIV infection were linked to care, 53.6% were retained in care, 49.8% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 41.3% had achieved viral suppression.

Prevention Challenges


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.
  • Phases of the Act Against AIDS campaign include Let's Stop HIV Together (Detengamos Juntos el VIH), which addresses stigma and raises awareness; Reasons/Razones, which encourages HIV testing among Latino/Hispanic gay bisexual men; and the 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.

Additional Resources

1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636)

CDC HIV Website

CDC Act Against AIDS Campaign


View the bibliography.


  1. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.
  2. Dependent areas: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or be at high risk for, HIV infection.

Related Stories

HIV & Me: A Guide to Living With HIV for Hispanics
The Body en Español
More HIV Statistics on the U.S. Latino Community

This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.

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