HIV/AIDS and Women in the United States

Date: May 1, 1997
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

HIV/AIDS and Women in the United States:

Excerpts from the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report The proportion of total AIDS cases attributable to women is increasing. From 1985 through 1996, the proportion of adolescent/adult women reported to with AIDS increased steadily each year, from 7% to 20% of reported cases. Of the total cases reported among women, the proportion attributable to heterosexual contact is also increasing. In 1994, AIDS cases in women attributable to transmission via heterosexual contact surpassed the number attributable to transmission via injecting drug use. HIV infection is the third leading cause of death among women ages 25-44; the leading cause of death among Black women in this same age group. This fact sheet presents data from the 1996 year-end edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report.

Magnitude of the Problem

From June 1982 through December 1996, CDC had received reports of 581,429 cases of AIDS among persons of all ages and racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including 85,500 cases (15%) among women.

In 1996, 69,151 AIDS cases were reported to CDC and of these cases, 13,820 (20%) were reported among women. Over 80% of these cases were reported from Metropolitan Statistical Areas with populations greater than 500,000. Black and Hispanic women have been disproportionately affected, accounting for 59% and 19% of women reported in 1996. AIDS rates for Black and Hispanic women are 17 and 6 times higher than for white women (61.7 and 22.7 and 3.5 per 100,000, respectively). Women under 30 accounted for 22% of reported cases in 1996. Because the time from initial infec-tion with HIV to the development of AIDS is average 10 years or longer, many of these young women acquired their infections in their teens and early twenties. The states with the highest AIDS rates in 1996 were New York , New Jersey, Florida, Maryland, and Delaware. The states with the highest number reported were New York (3249), Florida (1825), New Jersey (1050), California (940), and Texas (722).

Figure 1. Female adult/adolescent AIDS annual rates per 100,000 population, for cases reported in 1996, United States

Alabama 6.7 Alaska 3.2 Arizona 2.7 Arkansas 5.4 California 7.4 Colorado 3.4 Connecticut 21.6 Delaware 26.7 District of Columbia 107.0 Florida 29.5 Georgia 14.9 Hawaii 4.0 Idaho 0.2 Illinois 7.4 Indiana 2.7 Iowa 1.4 Kansas 2.2 Kentucky 3.4 Louisiana 16.1 Maine 2.3 Maryland 28.9 Massachusetts 12.2 Michigan 4.7 Minnesota 2.2 Missippii 9.1 Missouri 4.5 Montana 1.1 Nebraska 2.3 Nevada 10.7 New Hampshire 3.1 New Jersey 30.8 New Mexico 2.6 New York 41.7 North Carolina 6.8 North Dakota 0.0 Ohio 3.1 Oklahoma 3.1 Oregon 3.1 Pennsylvania 9.8 Puerto Rico 36.1 Rhode Island 10.5 South Carolina 12.9 South Dakota 0.7 Tennessee 5.5 Texas 9.4 Utah 2.3 Vermont 2.0 Virgin Islands 7.3 Virginia 7.5 Washington 3.9 West Virginia 2.5 Wisconson 1.6 Wyoming 1.0 ------------------------------ Total 12.3

Suggested Reading:

  • CDC. "Update: Trends in AIDS Incidence, Deaths, and Prevalence United States, 1996." MMWR 1997;46:165-73.
  • CDC. "AIDS Associated with Injecting-Drug Use United States, 1995." MMWR 1996;45:392-8.
  • CDC. "Update: AIDS Among Women United States, 1994." MMWR 1995;44:81-4. Erratum: MMWR 1995;44:135.
  • Kennedy MB, Scarlett MI, Duerr AC, Chu SY. "Assessing HIV Risk among Women Who Have Sex with Women: Scientific and Communication Issues." JAMWA 1995;50:103-7.
  • Ellerbrock TV, Bush TJ, Chamberland ME, et al. "Epidemiology of Women with AIDS in the United States, 1981 through 1990: A Comparison with Heterosexual Men with AIDS." JAMA 1991;265:2971-5
  • Selik RM, Chu SY, Buehler JW. "HIV Infection as Leading Cause of Death Among Young Adults in U.S. Cities and States." JAMA 1993;269:2991-4.

For further analysis of surveillance and trends in HIV/AIDS, consult the HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. The most recent issue of the report, as well as many other resources, can be obtained by contacting The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Website:

CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse P.O. Box 6003 Rockville, MD 20849-6003 1-800-458-5231

If you have questions concerning HIV infection, AIDS, or information in this update, please call CDC National AIDS Hotline 1-800-342-2437; 1-800-344-7432 (Spanish); 1-800-243-7889 (Deaf).