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HIV Among Women

March 10, 2016

Fast Facts
  • Around 1 in 4 people living with HIV in the United States are women.
  • Most new HIV diagnoses in women are attributed to heterosexual sex.
  • Between 2005 and 2014, the number of new HIV diagnoses among women declined 40%.


HIV Among Women
Black/African American1 and Hispanic/Latina2 women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, compared with women of other races/ethnicities. Of the total estimated number of women3 living with diagnosed HIV at the end of 2013, 61% (137,504) were African American, 17% (39,177) were white, and 17% (38,664) were Hispanics/Latinas.


The Numbers

New HIV Infections4

  • Women made up 19% (8,328) of the estimated 44,073 new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2014. Of these, 87% (7,242) were attributed to heterosexual sex,5 and 13% (1,045) were attributed to injection drug use.
  • Among all women diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 62% (5,128) were African American, 18% (1,483) were white, and 16% (1,350) were Hispanic/Latina.
  • New HIV diagnoses declined 40% among women from 2005 to 2014. They declined 42% among African American women, 35% among Latina women, and 30% among white women.
  • Women accounted for 25% (5,168) of the estimated 20,792 AIDS diagnoses among adults and adolescents in 2014 and represent 20% (246,372) of the estimated 1,210,835 cumulative AIDS diagnoses in the United States from the beginning of the epidemic through the end of 2014.


Estimates of New HIV Infections in the United States for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2014

Estimates of New HIV Infections in the United States for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2014

Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2014. HIV Surveillance Report 2015;26. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2014. HIV Surveillance Report 2015;26. Subpopulations representing 2% or less of HIV diagnoses are not reflected in this chart. Abbreviation: MSM = men who have sex with men.


Prevention Challenges

  • The greater number of people living with HIV (prevalence) in African American and Hispanic/Latino communities and the fact that people tend to have sex with partners of the same race/ethnicity mean that women from these communities face a greater risk of HIV infection with each new sexual encounter.
  • Some women may be unaware of their male partner's risk factors for HIV (such as injection drug use or having sex with men) and may not use condoms.
  • Assuming no prevention methods (such as condoms or medicines to prevent HIV) are used, the risk of getting HIV during vaginal sex is higher for women than it is for men. Anal sex is riskier for getting HIV than vaginal sex, and the risk is much greater for the receptive partner than for the insertive partner in anal sex. In a behavioral survey of heterosexual women at increased risk of HIV infection, 25% of HIV-negative women reported having anal sex without a condom in the previous year.
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, greatly increase the likelihood of getting or spreading HIV.
  • Women who have been sexually abused may be more likely than women with no abuse history to engage in sexual behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple partners, or having sex without a condom.


What CDC Is Doing

Through its high-impact prevention approach, CDC is working with state and local partners throughout the United States to identify and implement the most cost-effective and scalable interventions in the geographic areas and populations most affected by HIV. Activities include:

  • The Act Against AIDS campaigns, including
    • Doing It, a new national HIV testing and prevention campaign that encourages all adults to know their HIV status and protect themselves and their community by making HIV testing a part of their regular health routine;
    • Let's Stop HIV Together, which raises HIV awareness and fights stigma among all Americans and provides many stories about people living with HIV;
    • One Test. Two Lives., which provides resources to help obstetric providers test their patients.
  • Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) to Act Against AIDS, a new 5-year partnership between CDC and leading national organizations representing the populations hardest hit by HIV and AIDS, to intensify HIV prevention efforts in these populations.
  • Research on microbicides -- creams or gels that could be applied vaginally or anally before sexual contact to prevent HIV transmission.
  • Support and technical assistance to health departments and community-based organizations to deliver effective behavioral interventions.


Footnotes

  1. Referred to as African American in this fact sheet.
  2. Hispanics/Latinas can be of any race.
  3. Adult and adolescent females aged 13 and older.
  4. HIV and AIDS diagnoses indicate when a person is diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS, but do not indicate when the person was infected.
  5. Heterosexual sex with a person known to have, or be at high risk for, HIV infection.
  6. In 27 states and the District of Columbia (the areas with complete lab reporting by December 2014).
  7. A person with a suppressed viral load has a very low level of the virus. That person can stay healthy and has a dramatically reduced risk of transmitting the virus to others


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.
 
See Also
More Statistics on Women Living With HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and Canada

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