The State of the Epidemic in the U.S.
- In the U.S., over 850,000 adults and children are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS: 670,000 are men; 170,000 are women; 10,000 are children.
- One in three of those infected with HIV do not know they are infected.
- Among all AIDS cases to date, 82% occurred in men; 18% in women and less than 1% in children.
- Effective drug therapies have contributed to decreases of up to 70% in the number of reported AIDS cases and related AIDS deaths.
- Despite declines in new AIDS cases, the rate of new HIV infections remains high, impacting people across all ages, races, sexual orientations and socio-economic levels.
- 40,000 new HIV infections were reported in 1999.
- AIDS is now the fifth leading cause of death for people 25 to 44 years of age, and 50% of all new infections are among young people under age 25.
- During the 1990's, the epidemic shifted steadily toward a growing proportion of cases among African Americans, Hispanics and women.
- AIDS due to heterosexual contact is steadily increasing, representing 15% of new cases in 1999.
Major means of exposure for new AIDS cases in 1999, out of 46,000:
- Sex between men (15,500, or 34%)
- Injection drug use (10,000, or 22%)
- Heterosexual contact, primarily through sex with injection drug users (7,000, or 15%)
Factors that contribute to the spread of HIV:
- Cultural expectations of manhood can promote risk-taking behaviors among men and boys.
- Poverty and unemployment may increase sexual risk taking, especially for men seeking to compensate for a perceived loss of manhood and power.
- Isolation -- such as that caused by being in prison, homelessness, migrant work or living in the military -- may lead to sex with multiple partners, unprotected sex and drug use.
Factors that help control the spread of HIV:
- Prevention programs work -- programs that promote abstinence, safer sex, substance abuse treatment, needle exchange and open communication.
- There is consistent evidence that people often respond by changing destructive behaviors when they are reached with appropriate messages.
[See the Fact Sheet "Successful Prevention Programs"]
AIDS Cases per 100,000 Population Through December 1999