HIV/AIDS and Women

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There are many reasons why it’s important for women to know the facts when it comes to HIV. Biologically, we’re more susceptible to infection during sex. We’re also more likely to get infected through heterosexual sex.
Statistics used are from the Center for Disease Control’s website. Although these stats are only taking the United States into account, globally, HIV/AIDS is no less of a problem, especially for women.

Key Snapshot of the U.S. Epidemic Today:

  • Since 2008, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases in the United States has remained constant around 47,500 per year.
  • Number of people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.1 million, including more than 468,000 with AIDS
  • Number of AIDS deaths since beginning of epidemic: 641,976, including 21,601 in 2009
  • Percent of people infected with HIV who don’t know it: 21%

HIV/AIDS and Women in the United States

  • There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and almost 280,000 are women
  • 1 in 139 women will be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS at some point within their life.
  • In 2006, there were 15,000 new HIV infections and 9,801 AIDS cases diagnosed among women.
  • Among those who are HIV positive, 35% of women were tested for HIV late in their illness (diagnosed with AIDS within one year of testing positive).
  • HIV/AIDS is the 5th leading cause of death in women in the United States, ages 25-44.
  • High-risk heterosexual contact is the source of 80% of these newly diagnosed infections in women.
  • According to a CDC study of more than 19,500 patients with HIV in 10 US cities, women were slightly less likely than men to receive prescriptions for the most effective treatments for HIV infection.
  • Women with AIDS made up an increasing part of the epidemic. In 1992, women accounted for an estimated 14% of adults and adolescents living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. By the end of 2005, this proportion had grown to 25%.
  • The largest number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses during recent years was for women aged 15–39.
  • New York has the highest number of women living with AIDS.
  • 7 of the 10 states with the highest case rates among women are in the South.
  • The rate of women in D.C. infected with HIV/AIDS is nearly 12 times the national average.

HIV/AIDS and Minority Women

HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects minority women in the United States. ABlack and Latina women represent 24% of all US women combined, but account for 82% of the estimated total of AIDS diagnoses for women in 2005.

HIV/AIDS is the:

  • Leading cause of death for Black women (including African American women) aged 25–34 years.
  • 3rd leading cause of death for Black women aged 35–44 years
  • 4th leading cause of death for Black women aged 45–54 years
  • 4th leading cause of death for Latina women aged 35–44 years
  • The only diseases causing more deaths of women are cancer and heart disease
  • The rate of AIDS diagnosis for Black women was approximately 23 times the rate for white women and 4 times the rate for Latina women

These statistics were from The Center for Disease Control’s website and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Fact Sheets (which cited the CDC). You can get more information about the effect of the epidemic from these sites.