Which female patient groups are at highest risk for HIV infection in the US?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Ashley T Peterson, MD; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Early in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic, women were rarely diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, but by 2005, women represented 27% of the estimated 45,669 new diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, with the greatest rise among young women. [5] About 74% of new cases in women in the United States are contracted through heterosexual intercourse, 23% by contaminated needles, and most of the remaining cases by maternal-child transmission. Testing of donated blood has essentially eliminated blood transfusions as a source of infection.

Of women with AIDS, 71% were diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 44, implying that many of them may have been infected as adolescents. In the United States, African American and Hispanic women represent 25% of the female population but account for 76% of the total number of women with AIDS. Furthermore, the rate of HIV diagnosis is 15 times higher in African-American women compared to white women. Women of color account for 80% of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. [6]

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