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Fact Sheet

HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands

December 2005

HIV/AIDS and The Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
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 who do know their status are not getting the care they need. These numbers will continue to grow unless everyone takes decisive action against the disease.2

HIV/AIDS infection rates in the Caribbean are among the highest in the world, second only to those of sub-Saharan Africa. Know the facts, and join us in the fight against HIV/AIDS!

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 partnership 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!


  • An estimated 270,000-780,000 adults and children were living with HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean as of December 2004. An estimated 27,000-140,000 adults and children were newly infected with HIV in 2004, and an estimated 24,000-61,000 people died of AIDS that year.3

  • The national prevalence of HIV in 12 countries in the Caribbean Basin is estimated at a rate of more than 2 in 100 adults.3

  • HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among adults under the age of 45.3

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • At the end of 2004 an estimated 300 persons were living with AIDS.4

Puerto Rico

  • At the end of 2004 an estimated 10,000 persons were living with AIDS.4

  • Puerto Rico ranked among the top 10 U.S. states or territories with the highest number of total AIDS cases among residents at the end of 2004.4

  • CDC estimated AIDS rate for adults and adolescents living with AIDS is 324 per 100,000 population.4

Major Initiatives

The Administration is supporting HIV/AIDS relief in the Caribbean through three major initiatives:

  • The $15 billion, five-year President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which aims to prevent seven million new infections, treat two million HIV-infected people, care for 10 million HIV-infected individuals and AIDS orphans and build the health system capacity in the Caribbean and Africa.5

  • The $500 million International Mother and Child Prevention Initiative, which plans to reach one million people annually and reduce mother-to-child transmission by 40 percent in five years in the Caribbean and Africa.6

  • A pledge of close to $3 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in 2005.5

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 13.4

  • African Americans account for 40 percent of total estimated AIDS diagnoses through 2004,4 though they make up only 12.2 percent of the population.7 They also represent an estimated 50 percent of persons newly diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2004.4*

  • Hispanics account for 19 percent of total estimated AIDS diagnoses through 2004,4 though they make up only 14.2 percent of the population.7

  • 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.4

  • 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.4*

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 for more ideas.

To Learn More

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

  • Visit the HIV/AIDS Observance Days Web site at

  • 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

† The Caribbean includes islands in the Caribbean Sea and the mainland countries of Belize, Guyana, and Suriname.


  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. 24-8, 2002, Seattle, WA, Abstract 11.

  3. UNAIDS, AIDS Epidemic Update, Dec. 2004.

  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 2004, Vol. 16. Available at:

  5. White House press release, Fact Sheet: Extending and Improving the Lives of Those Living With HIV/AIDS, June 2004.

  6. White House press release, President Promotes New Mother and Child HIV Prevention Initiative, June 2002.

  7. U.S. Census Bureau, American Comm. Survey 2004. Available at, accessed Nov. 2005.

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