Racial and ethnic minority populations have been disproportionately affected by HIV infection and AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic in the United States. Through June 1993, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had received reports of 315,390 cases of AIDS among persons in the United States, including 97,794 cases among blacks, 52,531 among Hispanics, 2,036 among Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 657 among American Indians/Alaskan Natives. Through mid-1993, 48 percent of all reported AIDS cases were among blacks and Hispanics, while these two population groups represent only 21 percent of the total U.S. population. In 1991, HIV infection and AIDS was the sixth leading cause of death among blacks and the seventh leading cause of death among Hispanics, while it ranked tenth among whites.
Minority women and children have been particularly hard hit. Of reported AIDS cases among adult and adolescent women, 74 percent are among blacks and Hispanics; among children (
These statistics do not indicate that individuals are at risk just because they are a member of a racial or ethnic minority group -- these numbers simply reflect the fact that minority populations are disproportionately represented in communities that have a high incidence of HIV infection. HIV prevention efforts must take into account not only the multiracial and multicultural nature of our society, but also other social and economic factors, such as poverty, underemployment, and poor access to the health care system, that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority populations.
CDC has numerous HIV prevention programs that benefit racial and ethnic minority populations. In fiscal year 1994, these programs include:
- Direct funding of 49 community-based organizations (CBOs) that represent and serve minority populations and high-risk populations. Services provided by these CBOs include street outreach to injecting drug users and youth in high-risk situations; general education; peer education; social service agency and drug treatment facility-based education; condom distribution/safe sex education; prevention-oriented follow-up and behavior reinforcement for HIV-positive individuals and their families; programs designed to encourage people to receive HIV counseling, testing, and follow-up; and home-based interventions.
- Direct funding of 23 national and regional minority organizations to develop and broaden the base of minority organizations involved in HIV prevention efforts; collaborate with state and local agencies to provide HIV education efforts for minorities at risk of HIV infection; and encourage and evaluate national and regional approaches to HIV health education, risk reduction, and support services that are relevant to the cultural and social needs of minority populations.
- Prevention activities directed to persons at high risk of or already infected with HIV. These services, offered primarily through state and local health departments, include HIV counseling, testing, referral, and partner notification; HIV prevention directed to injecting and other drug users; health education and risk reduction; and perinatal HIV prevention. For example, more than 2.6 million HIV-antibody tests were performed in publicly funded counseling and testing sites in 1992; 43 percent of these tests were for minority clients. In addition, a project is underway to evaluate HIV prevention services in clinics serving women, including minority women, who may be at risk for HIV infection.
- HIV prevention education for school- and college-aged youth. Offered primarily through national, state, and local education organizations, this program includes school-based HIV prevention; college-based HIV prevention; and HIV prevention efforts directed to youth in high-risk situations (e.g., street youth, runaways). Many individuals from minority communities benefit from these services.
- HIV information, education, and prevention services for the general public, including:
- The CDC National AIDS Hotline, which provides services to the general public in both Spanish and English and facilitates access for the deaf through special phone lines
- The CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse, which helps health-care professionals, educators, and others identify appropriate educational materials to use with ethnic and racial minority populations and organizations that serve these audiences
- A national public information program
- Public information efforts conducted through state and local health departments
Individuals from minority communities access these resources in great numbers and benefit from the wide variety of prevention and education services they offer.
For more information, contact:
CDC National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-342-AIDS (2437)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention