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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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Minority AIDS Initiative

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Communities of color, including African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, have been disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2003, minorities represented more than 64 percent of persons living with AIDS, and African-Americans accounted for 50 percent of all new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS in 32 states and 1 US Territory with name-based HIV reporting. Further, an estimated 182,989 men who have sex with men (MSM) were living with AIDS, 47 percent of whom were MSM of color. To be successful, HIV prevention must address the diverse communities affected by the HIV epidemic. Prevention efforts must focus on groups at greatest risk, particularly African-American and Hispanic/Latino populations. Programs must be relevant to the lives of the target population, appropriate to age, culture, community standards, and language. The programs should be designed with input from the affected community and delivered by organizations and people with credibility in that community.


Since 1999, CDC has received funding through the Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) to enhance efforts to prevent the acquisition or transmission of HIV infections in racial and ethnic minority communities. With MAI resources, CDC supports community-based HIV prevention programs, capacity building programs to assist community-based organizations (CBOs) in implementing HIV prevention programs, and targeted education efforts to raise awareness of the importance of HIV testing. CDC also conducts supplemental surveillance to define the magnitude of the epidemic in racial and ethnic communities. Minority-focused research is conducted to develop and refine culturally relevant interventions and programs.

Example of Program in Action:
New and innovative HIV prevention programs that focus on young African American college students and other diverse groups are needed. In fiscal year 2004, CDC funded four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) in Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Washington, DC, to conduct routine rapid HIV testing and to document barriers and successes in developing an HIV testing program. CDC plans to use findings from these demonstration projects to design and implement HIV/AIDS prevention messages and activities in diverse settings and for diverse populations.


CDC continues to build the capacity of local communities, especially racial and ethnic communities, to prevent HIV. In particular, CDC will continue to provide financial support and technical assistance to CBOs through programs addressing populations at high-risk for HIV infection. CDC is currently completing its evaluation of the MAI program to assess the impact of this effort and guide future HIV prevention efforts in communities of color.

WebMD Public Information from the CDC

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