One of the first steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS is education and awareness.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a medical condition caused by the virus after someone’s been infected for awhile. HIV is the virus that we know causes AIDS. It enters the body and infects immune system cells, as well as other cells in the body — causing more copies of the virus to be produced. A person who has been infected with HIV is HIV-positive, but does not necessarily have AIDS.
There are many myths about how HIV is spread. You can’t acquire HIV by drinking from a water fountain, sitting on a toilet seat, hugging or touching an HIV-infected person, or by eating off plates and utensils. However, here are some ways HIV can be transmitted:
By way of bodily fluids (blood, semen, and vaginal secretions) during sexual contact. Saliva is not considered a transmission route for HIV.
By sharing needles to inject drugs. Infected blood can be exchanged between the parties who are using the same needle and syringe.
Through the transfusion of infected blood or blood products
HIV-infected woman can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy, during delivery, or while breast-feeding
Below are some key statistics about how HIV/AIDS affects us and those around us.
HIV/AIDS in the United States:
Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the US will be infected with HIV.
There are more than 1 million adults and adolescents in the United States living with HIV. Approximately one-fifth of them (21%) do not know that they have been infected.
Women and HIV/AIDS
In 2006, women made up 25% of the persons living with HIV in the United States. Women also represented 27% of new HIV infections in 2006.
High-risk heterosexual contact is the source of 80% of these newly diagnosed infections in women in the US.
From the beginning of the epidemic through 2005, almost 86,000 women have died of AIDS and AIDS-related complications.
The largest number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses during recent years was for women aged 15–39.
Seven of the 10 states with the highest case rates among women are in the South.
Minority Women and HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects minority women in the United States. According to the 2005 census, Black and Latina women represent 24% of all US women combined, but accounted for 82% of the estimated total of AIDS diagnoses for women in 2005.
HIV is the leading cause of death for Black women (including Black women) aged 25–34 years. The only diseases causing more deaths of women are cancer and heart disease.
The rate of AIDS diagnosis for Black women was approximately 23 times the rate for white women and 4 times the rate for Latina women.
In 2006, teen girls represented 39% of AIDS cases reported among 13–19 year-olds. Black teens represented 69% of cases reported among 13–19 year-olds; Latino teens represented 19%.
Youth and HIV/AIDS
In 2006, the CDC estimates that almost 46,000 young people, ages 13-24, were living with HIV in the US. Women comprised 28% of these HIV/AIDS cases among 13-24 year-olds.
African-American young adults are disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 60% of HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 13-24 year olds in 2006.
Learn More at:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services AIDS Homepage