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Fact Sheet

New HIV Infections in the United States

December 2012

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HIV Infections by Race and Ethnicity

Blacks

Overall: CDC's new estimates show that African Americans, more than any other racial/ethnic group, continue to bear the greatest burden of HIV in the United States. While blacks represent approximately 14 percent of the total U.S. population, they accounted for almost half (44 percent) of all new HIV infections in 2010 (20,900). HIV incidence among blacks was almost eight times higher than that of whites (68.9 v. 8.7 per 100,000 of the population). Comparing 2008 to 2010, there was no statistically significant change in overall HIV incidence among blacks.

Black Men: Black men represented almost one-third (31 percent) of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010 (14,700) and accounted for 70 percent of new HIV infections among blacks. The rate of new infections among black men was the highest of any group by race and sex -- more than six times that of white men (103.6 v. 15.8 per 100,000). The vast majority (72 percent) of infections among black men were among MSM. By age, the largest percentage (38 percent) of new HIV infections among black males in 2010 occurred in those aged 13-24 years -- much higher than the proportion of new infections among Hispanic (25 percent) and white (16 percent) males that occurred in the same age group.

Black Women: Black women accounted for 13 percent of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2010 and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all new infections among women. Most black women (87 percent) were infected through heterosexual sex. While new infections among black women remain high, for the first time this analysis found indications of an encouraging trend. Comparing 2008 to 2010, new HIV infections among black women decreased 21 percent, from 7,700 in 2008 to 6,100 in 2010. This decrease contributed to a 21 percent decline in new infections among women overall during the same time period. Additional years of data will be needed to determine if the decrease among black women is the beginning of a longer-term trend.

While the decline in HIV incidence is encouraging, the new data show that black women continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of other races/ethnicities. The rate of new HIV infections among black women in 2010 was 20 times that of white women and nearly 5 times that of Hispanic women (38.1 v. 1.9 and 8.0 per 100,000, respectively). This indicates an even greater disparity than shown in CDC's previous incidence analysis, in which the HIV infection rate among black women was 15 times that of white women and more than 3 times that of Hispanic women.


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Hispanics

Hispanics represent approximately 16 percent of the total U.S. population, but accounted for 21 percent of all new HIV infections in 2010 (9,800). Hispanic men accounted for 87 percent of new HIV infections among Hispanics in 2010 (8,500), with the vast majority of these infections (79 percent) occurring among MSM. The HIV infection rate among Hispanic men was almost three times that of white men (45.5 v. 15.8 per 100,000). Hispanic women experienced an HIV infection rate more than four times that of white women (8.0 v. 1.9 per 100,000); most were infected through heterosexual sex (86 percent; 1,200). Comparing 2008 to 2010, there was no statistically significant difference in overall HIV incidence among Hispanics.


Whites

Whites accounted for nearly a third (31 percent) of all new HIV infections in 2010 (14,900), but had a substantially lower HIV infection rate (8.7 per 100,000) than African Americans or Hispanics. Men accounted for 89 percent of new HIV infections among whites (13,200). The vast majority of these infections (85 percent) occurred among MSM. White women continue to account for a much lower number of new infections (1,700) than white men, with most infections occurring through heterosexual contact (76 percent). Comparing 2008 to 2010, there was no statistically significant change in overall HIV incidence among whites.


Other Racial/Ethnic Groups

Asians accounted for 2 percent of new HIV infections (950) in 2010. American Indians/Alaska Natives (210), Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders (70), and individuals identifying as multiple races (710) each accounted for 1 percent or less of new infections. Given the relatively small number of new HIV infections in these populations, it was not possible to develop reliable estimates for these groups by route of transmission or sex. There was no statistically significant change in overall HIV incidence among Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, or Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders.


Figure 5: Estimated Rate of New HIV Infections, 2010
Figure 5: Estimated Rate of New HIV Infections, 2010


Figure 6: Estimated New HIV Infections Among Black Women, 2008-2010
Figure 6: Estimated New HIV Infections Among Black Women, 2008-2010


Factors Fueling Racial/Ethnic Disparities

HIV racial disparities are driven by a range of factors that disproportionately affect communities of color. One key factor is the higher HIV prevalence (proportion of people living with HIV) in many African American and Latino communities, which means individuals in those communities face a greater risk of infection with every sexual encounter. Other factors include: stigma and homophobia, which may prevent many from seeking HIV prevention; economic barriers and lack of insurance, which can limit access to health care including HIV testing and treatment; higher rates of incarceration among African American men, which may lead to concurrent relationships and fuel the spread of HIV; and higher levels of STDs, which can facilitate HIV transmission, in African American and Latino communities.


HIV Infections by Age

The largest percentage of new infections in 2010 occurred among people aged 25-34 (31 percent; 14,500), followed by those aged 13-24 (26 percent; 12,200), and those aged 35-44 (24 percent, 11,300). An additional 15 percent (7,100) occurred among people aged 45-54, and 5 percent (2,500) among those aged 55 and older. Comparing 2008 to 2010, the number of new HIV infections remained stable in every age group.


Methods for Estimating National HIV Incidence

CDC's HIV incidence surveillance methodology is based on an approach known as STARHS (Serologic Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion). STARHS uses a special test (the BED HIV-1 Capture Enzyme Immunoassay) that classifies newly diagnosed infections as either long-standing or recent (occurring within approximately the past five months).

Before this surveillance methodology was developed, HIV diagnosis data provided the best indication of recent trends in key populations. However, diagnosis data do not indicate when an individual was actually infected, because infection can occur many years before a diagnosis. For this analysis, CDC applied the STARHS technology to new HIV diagnoses in 18 states and two cities -- a larger number of surveillance areas than had been available for previous analyses. CDC identified the number of new diagnoses in a given year that represented new infections and, using a complex statistical model, extrapolated these data to the general population to provide national estimates of HIV incidence.

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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 on U.S. HIV/AIDS Statistics

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