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Fact Sheet

HIV/AIDS Among African Americans

December 2005

HIV/AIDS and African Americans
Today there are an estimated 1.039 million to 1.185 million HIV-positive individuals living in the United States -- the largest number ever according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these, between 252,000-315,000 people do not know they are infected, and thus are suffering from a lack of treatment, while at the same time may be unknowingly spreading the virus.1 About 225,000 more who do know their status aren't getting the care they need. These numbers will continue to grow unless everyone takes decisive action against the disease.2

HIV/AIDS is taking a devastating and disproportionate toll on people of color in the United States. Community leaders and organizations can play a critical role in fighting the disease in their neighborhoods, and The Leadership Campaign on AIDS (TLCA) is dedicated to helping them do it.


TLCA: Fighting HIV/AIDS in Communities of Color!

Within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of HIV/AIDS Policy's The Leadership Campaign on AIDS (TLCA) is working externally and internally to support the fight against HIV/AIDS in communities of color. TLCA reaches out to community leaders and local and national organizations to improve education, awareness, and action against the disease. TLCA wants to help minority leaders fight the stigma, fear, and denial that exacerbate the problem, and to help build partnerships that will promote education, prevention, testing, vaccine awareness, and treatment. TLCA also reaches internally to help improve the coordination, information-sharing, communication efforts, and effectiveness of the Department's HIV/AIDS initiatives and programs.


Know the Facts and Educate, Motivate, and Mobilize Against HIV/AIDS!

African Americans:

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  • Account for 40 percent of estimated total AIDS cases diagnosed since the beginning of the epidemic through 2004,3 though they make up only 12.2 percent of the population.4

  • Represent an estimated 50 percent of persons newly diagnosed with HIV in 2004.3*

  • Account for 40 percent of estimated total AIDS deaths and 43 percent of all persons estimated to be living with AIDS.3

African-American adults and adolescents (people ages 13 and older):

  • Account for 49 percent of AIDS cases newly diagnosed in 2004.3

  • For ages 25-34 and 45-54, HIV/AIDS was the third leading cause of death in 2002.5

  • Account for 61 percent of AIDS cases newly diagnosed in 2002 among 13- to 24-year-olds.6

African-American men:

  • Account for 36 percent of HIV/AIDS diagnoses during 2001 through 2004 among men who had sex with men.7**

  • For ages 35-44, HIV/AIDS was the second leading cause of death in 2002.5*

African-American women:

  • Account for 67 percent of AIDS diagnoses among women in 2004.3

  • Account for 64 percent of all women estimated to be living with AIDS.3

  • For ages 25-34, HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death in 2002.5

African American children (under 13):

  • Account for 63 percent of all new estimated AIDS diagnoses in children in 2004.3

  • Account for 65 percent of children living with HIV/AIDS in 35 states in 2004.3


Did You Know?

  • An estimated 944,306 Americans have been diagnosed with AIDS from the beginning of the epidemic through 2004. Of the 42,514 estimated new diagnoses in 2004, 73 percent were male and 27 percent were female. Less than one percent were children under 13.3

  • Hispanics account for 19 percent of total estimated AIDS diagnoses through 2004,3 though they make up only 14.2 percent of the population.4

  • The number of Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indian/Alaska Natives living with AIDS continues to rise, with an approximately 10 percent increase each year over the past five years.3

  • Women of color account for 80 percent of all women estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS. Women across racial/ethnic groups most commonly report heterosexual contact or injection drug use as their primary modes of exposure to HIV, while males most commonly report homosexual contact and injection drug use.3*


What Can You Do?

  • Learn more about HIV/AIDS and its impact on your community.

  • Protect yourself against HIV infection. Know the risks associated with sex and drug use.

  • Get tested. It's important to know your HIV status to protect yourself and others.

  • Get medical care and support if you're living with HIV. Effective treatments exist.

  • Educate others about HIV/AIDS. Talk openly and honestly about prevention and treatment.

  • Volunteer at a local HIV/AIDS organization.

  • Post fact sheets about HIV/AIDS on bulletin boards and in local newsletters.

  • Organize a community meeting. Invite educators, faith and business leaders, health care professionals, neighbors, and friends to talk about HIV/AIDS and its impact locally. Even if three people show up, change can happen!

  • Help someone living with HIV/AIDS by being a friend.

  • Help end the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.

  • Implement an activity to support HIV/AIDS observances such as World AIDS Day on December 1 or National HIV Testing Day on June 27. Visit www.omhrc.gov/hivaidsobservances for more ideas.


To Learn More

  • Visit the CDC National Prevention Information Network at www.cdcnpin.org or call 1-800-458-5231.

  • Visit the HIV/AIDS Observance Days Web site at www.omhrc.gov/hivaidsobservances.

  • Call the CDC-INFO (formerly the CDC National AIDS Hotline) at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), TTY 1-888-232-6348.

  • Call your doctor or other health care provider.

  • Contact your local or state public health department.

* In the 35 areas with longstanding HIV reporting.

** In the 33 states with longstanding HIV reporting.

The terms "African American" and "Black" are used interchangeably to include those individuals who self-identify as either. The term "Hispanic" includes those individuals who self-identify as "Latino/a" or "Hispanic."


Resources

  1. Glynn M., Rhodes P. Estimated HIV prevalence in the United States at the end of 2003. National HIV Prevention Conference; June 2005; Atlanta. Abstract 595.

  2. Fleming, P.L., et al., "HIV Prevalence in the United States, 2000," 9th Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Feb. 24-28, 2002, Seattle, WA, Abstract 11.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 2004, Vol. 16.

  4. U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2004, accessed Nov. 2005.

  5. National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 52, No. 9 (Nov 2003).

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report 2002, Vol. 10, No. 1.

  7. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Trends in HIV/AIDS Diagnoses—33 states, 2001-2004," MMWR, Vol. 54, No. 45, Nov. 18, 2005, pp. 1149-1153.



  
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This article was provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
 

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