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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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More Than 1 Million Americans Living With HIV

HIV Epidemic Hitting Blacks, Men Hardest

WebMD Health News

June 14, 2005 -- More than 1 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV at the close of 2003, according to the latest CDC data on the virus that causes AIDS.

Researchers presented the report at the 2005 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta this week and say the findings are both good and bad.

The good news is that more people are living with HIV thanks to HIV-fighting drugs. But the bad news is that the frequency of the disease remains extremely high, especially among blacks and men who have sex with men.

The report shows that nearly three-quarters of the Americans living with HIV at the end of 2003 were men, and blacks represented nearly half (47%) of all HIV-positive Americans. Whites accounted for 34% and Hispanics for 17%.

HIV/AIDS in America

Overall, CDC researchers estimate that between 1,039,000 and 1,185,000 people in the U.S. were living with HIV in December 2003. Of those, they estimate about a quarter are unaware that they are infected with HIV.

Other findings of the report include:

  • Men who have sex with men remain the group most heavily affected by HIV, accounting for 45% of people living with HIV.
  • Individuals infected through high-risk heterosexual contact, such as unprotected sex, accounted for 27% of Americans with HIV.
  • People infected with HIV through injection drug use accounted for 22%.

Researchers say the makeup of the HIV-positive population in the U.S. may shift in the coming years as the number of blacks, females, and people infected with HIV through heterosexual contact now account for a higher proportion of new HIV infections than those currently living with AIDS.

In addition, researchers say that although the number of adolescent and young women diagnosed with HIV has declined in recent years, the number of black men diagnosed with HIV has increased.

The last report, released in 2002, estimated that between 850,000 and 950,000 people were HIV-positive at the end of 2000 but did not contain breakdowns by racial or ethnic groups.

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