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HIV/AIDS and U.S. Blacks

  • Non-Hispanic blacks represent 30 percent of all reported acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases in the United States, but make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population. While the total number of reported AIDS cases historically has been highest among whites, racial/ethnic minority groups in the United States have always been overly represented in proportion to population size, and the numbers continue growing.
  • Through June 1993, 97,794 U.S. blacks have been reported to have AIDS; more than 50,000 of those persons have died. In 1992 alone, 15,897 AIDS cases among black Americans of all ages were reported to CDC.
  • In 1992, the AIDS case rate among blacks (52.2 per 100,000 population) was nearly 3 times higher than among the total U.S. population (18.2 per 100,000). Among black men, the 1992 AIDS case rate was 112.6 per 100,000; among black women, 27.2 per 100,000; and among black children under age 13, 6.4 per 100,000.
  • Cumulatively through June 1993, CDC had received reports of 315,390 AIDS cases in the United States, with 51 percent among non-Hispanic whites; 31 percent among non-Hispanic blacks; 17 percent among Hispanics; 0.6 percent among Asians/Pacific Islanders; and 0.2 percent among American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • Racial and ethnic disparities in AIDS incidence are more striking for women and children than they are for men:
    • Of adult and adolescent blacks reported with AIDS in the United States, 21 percent are female. In comparison, among the general U.S. adult/adolescent population, 12 percent of people reported with AIDS cases are female.
    • In 1988, in both New York State and New Jersey, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS became the leading cause of death among non-Hispanic black women 15-44 years of age.
    • Six of every ten U.S. children with perinatally acquired AIDS are black. More than 2,500 AIDS cases have been reported among black U.S. children under the age of 13, and 95 percent of them acquired HIV infection from their mothers during pregnancy or at birth.
    • HIV/AIDS is the second leading cause of death for non-Hispanic black children 1-4 years of age in New York State.
  • Comparing U.S. AIDS cases reported among blacks with those reported among all racial/ethnic groups, the major modes of HIV transmission among U.S. adults and adolescents reported with AIDS are as follows:
Transmission Category*Cases Among
US Blacks (%)
All Reported U.S.
AIDS Cases (%)
Injection drug use3924
Men who have sex with men3355
Men who have sex with men
and inject drugs
Heterosexual contact137
*Percentages do not add up to 100% because some transmission categories have been omitted.

For more information, contact:
CDC National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-342-AIDS (2437)
Spanish: 1-800-344-7432
Deaf: 1-800-243-7889

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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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.