According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one million people in the United States are currently infected with the HIV virus that leads to AIDS. Twenty-one percent of those people are unaware of their infection.
The annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable for some time, with an estimated 56,300 Americans contracting HIV each year.
Approximately 18,000 people with AIDS die each year in the United States. Through 2007, the AIDS death toll nationwide exceeded 576,000 people since the epidemic had begun. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men represent the majority of persons who have died.
Following is an overview of the HIV infection rates of various risk groups:
1) Gay, Bisexual, and other Men who have Sex with Men (MSM):
MSM account for more than half (53%) of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year, as well as nearly half (48%) of people living with HIV. While the CDC estimates that MSM comprise just 4% of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM nationwide is more than 44 times that of other men, and more than 40 times that of women.
Each year, white MSM account for the largest number of new HIV infections of any group in the United States, followed closely by black MSM.
MSM is the only risk group in the U.S. in which new HIV infections have been increasing since the early 1990s.
2) Heterosexuals and Injection Drug Users:
Each year, individuals infected through heterosexual contact account for 31% of new HIV infections and 28% of people living with HIV.
Injection drug users represent 12% of new HIV infections and 19% of those living with HIV.
3) African Americans:
While blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, they account for almost half (46%) of people living with HIV in the United States, as well as nearly half (45%) of new infections each year. HIV infections among blacks overall have been roughly stable since the early 1990s.
At some point in their lives, approximately one in 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV, as will one in 30 black women.
The rate of new HIV infections for black men is about six times as high as that of white men, nearly three times that of Hispanic/Latino men, and more than twice that of black women.
The HIV incidence rate for black women is nearly 15 times as high as that of white women, and nearly four times that of Hispanic/Latino women.
Hispanics/Latinos represent 15% of the U.S. population and account for an estimated 17% of people living with HIV and 17% of new infections each year. HIV infections among Hispanics/Latinos overall have been roughly stable since the early 1990s.
The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic/Latino men is more than double that of white men, and the rate among Hispanic/Latino women is nearly four times that of white women.