We are in the third decade of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Approximately 65 million people worldwide have become infected, including over 25 million who have already died. Half of those newly infected today are under age 25. The HIV/AIDS epidemic is on track to be one of the worst epidemics in human history and, millions more people could become infected by the end of this decade alone, if more is not done. But HIV is preventable.
HIV/AIDS in the U.S.
Key Trends and Current Cases:
- AIDS cases have been reported in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories.
- As many as one-quarter of those infected with HIV do not know they are HIV- positive.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 500,000 Americans with AIDS have already died and that 1 million more are currently living with HIV/AIDS..
- There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. The number of new infections occurring annually in the U.S. has not decreased in the last decade, remaining constant at approximately 40,000 new HIV cases each year. However, recent analyses suggest a potential rise in occurrence among some populations.
- Advances in treatment have dramatically decreased the number of people who have died of AIDS since the peak in the mid-1990’s. However, the number of deaths among people with AIDS has remained relatively steady in recent years.
Impact of HIV/AIDS on Young People:
- Most young people are infected through sex.
- Young people, especially young women and people of color, have been particularly affected by the epidemic. Young African Americans represented 66% of AIDS cases reported among 13-19 years olds in 2003; Latino teens represented 21%.
Impact of HIV/AIDS on People of Color:
- People of color now represent the majority of new HIV infections, as well as new AIDS cases and people living with with AIDS in the U.S.
- Although African-Americans and Latinos represented 13% and 14% of the U.S. population, respectively, in 2004, they accounted for 49% and 20% of new AIDS diagnoses.
- Studies have shown that survival after an AIDS diagnosis is lower among African Americans than other racial/ethnic groups.
Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women:
- Women account for a growing share of new AIDS diagnoses, rising from 8 percent in 1985 to 27% of new AIDS diagnoses in 2004.
- Women of color are particularly affected by HIV/AIDS.
- African-American women account for 67% of new AIDS cases among women in 2004 and Latinas account for 15%.
Impact of HIV/AIDS on Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM):
- Men who have sex with men account for approximately 42% of all new AIDS diagnoses in 2004 in the U.S. and 57% of new AIDS diagnoses among men that same year.
- Younger MSM and MSM of color are at particularly high risk, CDC studies have found high HIV incidence and prevalence among MSM in some cities, particularly among African American and Latino MSM, and low levels of awareness of infection status among those with HIV.
- MSM of color now account for the majority of new AIDS cases reported among MSM.
The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic
Overview of the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic:
The global HIV/AIDS epidemic has claimed over 25 million lives. Almost 39 million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. HIV is now the leading cause of death worldwide among 15 to 59 year olds. Sub-Saharan Africa has been especially hard hit: the region accounts for almost two-thirds of people living with HIV/AIDS and more than 7 in 10 HIV-related deaths. Russia, India and China are considered “next wave” countries, where large numbers of people are infected with HIV. The Russian Federation has the largest number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe (an estimated 940,000). There are increasing concerns about the spread of the epidemic in Asia as well, particularly in China and India, the two most populous nations in the world. Like Russia, they are considered part of the epidemic’s “next wave” and despite having relatively low percentages of their population infected with HIV today, the epidemic could expand significantly over the next decade if nothing changes. India already has the second highest number of people estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in the world (5.7 million).
Impact of HIV/AIDS on Women, Children, & Young People:
- Women make up a growing percentage of adults living with HIV/AIDS around the world, rising from an estimated 41% in 1997 to 48% as of the end of 2005.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, women represented more than half (59%) of adults living with HIV/AIDS as of the end of 2005.
- Teens and young adults have been particularly affected by HIV/AIDS.
- Young people ages 15-24 accounted for over 40% of new HIV infections among adults as of the end of 2005.