Anyone can be infected with HIV. However, certain groups of people are disproportionately affected by HIV. This means that these groups have more HIV infections than other groups, even though their overall group size is small. In the United States these groups are disproportionately affected by HIV: gay/bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), blacks/African Americans, and Hispanics/Latinos. Women—including those who are pregnant—also face risk. Those who abuse intravenous drugs and other substances are also at high risk.
If you think you are at high risk for exposure, or you have sex partners who may be, you should be tested for HIV at least once each year. Everyone between ages 13 and 64 should be tested at least once as part of routine health care.
Gay, Bisexual, or Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)
Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the U.S. population, but accounted for more than 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009.
Other relevant statistics for MSM
- Nearly 24,000 MSM are newly infected with HIV each year (CDC estimates that approximately 50,000 total people in the United States are newly infected with HIV each year).
- MSM is the only risk group with increasing numbers of new HIV infections.
To learn more about these statistics, visit CDC’s page on HIV among Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM).
Blacks/African Americans are the racial/ethnic group most affected by HIV. They represent approximately 13% of the U.S. population, but accounted for approximately 45% of all new HIV infections in the United States in 2006.
Other relevant statistics for blacks/African Americans
- At some point in their lives, 1 in 16 black/African American men and 1 in 32 black/African American women will be diagnosed with HIV. Black/African American men are six times more likely to be infected with HIV infection than white men, nearly three times more likely than Hispanic/Latino men and twice as likely as black/African American women.
- It is 15 times more likely for a black/African American woman to be infected with HIV infection than a white woman and nearly four times more likely than Hispanic/Latina woman.
To learn more about these statistics, visit CDC’s page on HIV among African Americans.
Hispanics/Latinos represent approximately 15% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 17% of new HIV infections in the United States in 2006.
Other relevant statistics for Hispanics/Latinos
- The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic/Latino men is more than double that of white men.
- The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic/Latina women is nearly 4 times that of white women.
To learn more about these statistics, visit CDC’s page on HIV among Hispanics/Latinos.
In 2006, women comprised 27% of all new HIV infections in the United States. Women of minority races/ethnicities are especially affected. Black/African American women are the most affected group, followed by Hispanic/Latina women. The HIV infection rate for black women was nearly 15 times as high as that of white women and nearly four times as high as that of Hispanic/Latina women.
Women who are infected with HIV typically get it by having sex with a man who is infected or by sharing needles with an infected person.
All pregnant women should know their HIV status.
Pregnant women who are HIV-positive can work with their health care providers to ensure their babies do not contract HIV during pregnancy, delivery, and/or after delivery (through breast milk). It is possible for a mother to have HIV and not spread it to her baby, especially if she knows about her HIV status early and works with her health care provider to reduce the risk.
Out of 50 pregnant women with HIV, the risk of them passing HIV to their babies is approximately:
- 1 baby out of 50 when women begin treatment during pregnancy
- 5 babies out of 50 when women begin treatment during labor, or their babies get treatment soon after birth, or both mother and baby receive treatment during labor or soon after birth
- 13 babies out of 50 when women do not get treatment
Remember that HIV also can be spread through breast milk, so mothers with HIV should not breast-feed their babies.
For more information on pregnant women and HIV visit section on this topic.
Intravenous Drug Users (IDUs)
In 2006, people infected with HIV through injection drug use (IDU) accounted for 12% of all new HIV infections. People who have sex with an injection drug user are also at risk for infection through the sexual transmission of HIV.
While most people who have HIV get it by having sex with someone who is infected, sharing needles and other drug works is a well-documented way of transmitting HIV. (source CDC.gov)