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Fact Sheet: HIV/AIDS Among Adults

December 1998

Today, AIDS is second leading cause of death among Americans ages 25 to 44 and the leading cause of death among African-American men and women in this age group. In 1997, 60,161 new AIDS diagnoses among adults in the United States were reported. Although advancements in drug treatments have significantly lowered the numbers of AIDS-related deaths and slowed AIDS incidence in recent years, the rate that Americans are becoming infected with HIV has not abated.

Last year, more than 14,000 new HIV infections among adults/adolescents were reported. However, this number does not reflect the thousands of Americans who are either unaware of their HIV status, were tested in states that do not report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or who were tested anonymously.

The only way to slow the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the nation is to alert all Americans of the threats that the epidemic poses within their communities and among their peers.

Women and HIV/AIDS

Since 1985, the proportion of adolescent and adult women reported with AIDS to CDC increased steadily each year, from 7% in 1985 to an alarming 22% in 1997. As the numbers of women with HIV/AIDS continue to rise, disparities in the services available for women, particularly those women in minority groups, have become increasingly evident. Due to this "gender gap," women are far less likely to be educated about HIV transmission and prevention, to be tested for HIV, or to seek treatment if they indeed are infected. Due to a combination of economic, social, and cultural inequalities, American women are three times more likely to die from AIDS than men.

Men and HIV/AIDS

Men in the United States currently account for 84% of all adult/adolescent AIDS cases. Between 1995 and 1996, there was an 8% decrease in the number of AIDS cases among men, partly due to the increased prevention efforts targeted toward white men who have sex with men (MSM).

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