HIV/AIDS: Facts & Figures
- More than 33 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide
- In 2007, more than 2.5 million people were infected with HIV worldwide
- Worldwide, more than 5,700 people die of AIDS every day
- More than 15 million children worldwide have been orphaned to this disease
- Every 9 ½ minutes a woman is infected with HIV
- More than 1.2 million people live with HIV/AIDS in the United States
- African-Americans account for 48% of all new infections in the US
- AIDS is the leading cause of death for men and women aged 25-44 in the US
In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, gay men and injection drug users were the most likely groups to become infected with HIV. Relatively few women had been identified as living with HIV although many infected through intravenous drug use had not yet been diagnosed (Corea, G., 1992). By 2004 though, HIV was: 1) the leading cause of death for black women (including African American women) aged 25-34 years; 2) the third leading cause of death for black women aged 35-44 years; 3) the 4th leading cause of death for black women aged 45-54 years; and 4) the 4th leading cause of death for Hispanic women aged 35-44. The only diseases causing more deaths among women were cancer and heart disease (WISQARS, 2007).
Race/ethnicity of those living with an AIDS diagnosis in the U.S. in 2007
As the pie chart below shows, blacks/African Americans accounted for the largest proportion of people living with an AIDS diagnosis in 2007.
In 2005, HIV/AIDS was diagnosed for an estimated 9,708 women. High risk heterosexual contact was the source of 80% of newly diagnosed infections, accounting for 26% of 37,163 diagnoses for adults and adolescents. Of the 126,964 women living with HIV/AIDS, 64% were black, 19% were white, 15% were Hispanic, and 1% other. The rate of HIV diagnosis for black women is 23 times the rate for white women and 4 times the rate for Hispanic Women (CDC, 2005). According to a recent CDC study, women were slightly less likely than men to receive medication for the most effective treatments for HIV (McNaghten et al.).
Although proportionately more men use and abuse drugs than women, drug abuse and dependency pose significant problems for women. Studies show that women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol-related organ damage and trauma resulting from accidents and violence (NIAAA, 1999). Research has also shown that women’s abuse or problem use of alcohol or other drugs is a risk factor for a number of adverse health social consequences, including criminal activities, mental health disorders, unprotected intercourse, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection, unintended pregnancies, poor birth outcomes, and child abuse and neglect (Su et al.) Women also appear to be more vulnerable than men to domestic violence as an adverse consequence of alcohol abuse and drug dependency (Cunradi et al.). Preliminary data from one study showed that 90% of women in drug treatment had experienced severe violence from a partner during their lifetimes (Miller, 1998). Clearly drugs and victimization are closely interrelated just as drugs and HIV infection have a strong connection.
According to the New York State HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report for Cases Diagnosed through December, 2005 (April, 2007), of the 8,529 persons living with HIV in Brooklyn, New York 41.8% (3,563) were women and of those living with AIDS, 32% (11,899) were women. Of the former total, 70.7% were between the ages of 25 and 49 years and of the latter, 80.2% were in the same age group. Of the total living with HIV (8,529) 61.6% were black, 20.9% Hispanic and 12.9% white. Of those living with AIDS (37,183), 60.2% were black, 25.6% Hispanic and 13.4% white. As it concerns risk, among those living with HIV, 21.8% were MSM followed by 18.6% heterosexual contact, and 11.1% IDU. Among those living with AIDS, 40% were IDU followed by 19% MSM, and 13.2% heterosexual contact. Clearly, the rate of HIV infection and AIDS among black and Hispanic women is disproportionate to that of other racial and ethnic groups in the borough of Brooklyn.