The need to prevent HIV couldn't be more urgent. With an estimated 33 million people worldwide living with HIV at the end of 2007, and more than 25 million lives lost to AIDS since 1981, December 1st serves to remind everyone that action makes a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Americans should be reminded that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. With an estimated 1.1 million HIV-positive individuals living in the U.S. and 56,000 new infections occurring every year, the U.S., like other nations around the world is deeply affected by HIV/AIDS.
Here's another important fact. The disproportionate burden of AIDS affects racial and ethnic minorities across the age spectrum. Racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States, primarily African Americans and Hispanics, constitute almost 60 percent of the more than 1,055,288 cases of AIDS reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since the epidemic began in 1981. African Americans make up 48 percent of all AIDS cases reported in the United States, yet according to the U.S. Census Bureau, they comprise only 12 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics represent 17 percent of all AIDS cases in the United States and are approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population.
Injection drug use is a major factor in the spread of HIV in minority communities. Other factors contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS in these communities include men who have sex with men (MSM) and increasingly, heterosexual transmission.
According to CDC:
- In 2007, African Americans and Hispanics represented 58 percent of males living with AIDS and 79 percent of those in females.
- In 2007, 62 percent of all women reported with AIDS are African American and 17 percent are Hispanic.
- African-American children represent almost 79 percent of all pediatric AIDS cases.
- Of the 28 pediatric AIDS cases reported in 2007, 21 were in African Americans and 2 were in Hispanics.
The Good News
There is good news. HIV is preventable. The Federal Government promotes the A-B-C- prevention method pioneered in Uganda, Africa. The initials stand for Abstinence, Being faithful in a mutually monogamous relationship if you are sexually active, and consistent and correct condom use if you are not using A or B. The A-B-C method is comprehensive and designed to fit real lifestyles. With A-B-C, you have options that work.
Another way to prevent HIV is to get tested, get your results, and encourage your partner and loved ones to do the same. With the availability of rapid testing, you can get tested and know your status in under 30 minutes. What's more, HIV testing is confidential and opens the door to HIV prevention, early detection, and early treatment. To learn more about HIV/AIDS and the benefits of testing, please visit the CDC. To find a free testing site near you, click on CDC's national testing site.
Today can be the day that you personally decide to help prevent the spread of HIV. Start now. Join the millions of Americans on December 1st - World AIDS Day. Pass the word, and visit the HHS HIV/AIDS Awareness Days for more information.
We encourage you to visit this Web site and download materials, such as fact sheets that provide HIV/AIDS statistics and the new World AIDS Day poster, to assist in your efforts to educate, motivate and mobilize your local community in the fight against HIV/AIDS!
For more information on HIV/AIDS, visit:
The Office of Minority Health
HIV Infection and AIDS: An Overview
HIV, AIDS, and Older People