HIV is a serious health threat to Latino communities, who bear a disproportionate share of the HIV burden in the United States. Because there is no single Latino culture, the factors driving the epidemic in this population are as diverse as the communities themselves.
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While prevention efforts have helped to maintain stability in the overall level of new HIV infections among Latinos for more than a decade, this population continues to be affected by HIV at far too high a level.
Hispanics represent approximately 16 percent of the U.S. population, but account for an estimated 19 percent of people living with HIV (220,400 persons) and an estimated 21 percent of new infections (9,800) in the United States each year.
Approximately one in 50 Hispanics will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.
Men account for 87 percent of new infections among Hispanics.
The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic men is almost three times that among white men, with gay and bisexual men particularly affected.
- Most new infections among Hispanic men (79 percent) occur among men who have sex with men.
- In a study of 21 major U.S. cities in 2008, approximately 18 percent of Hispanic MSM were infected. Among those who were HIV-infected, nearly half (46 percent) were unaware that they were infected.
- The rate of new HIV infections among Hispanic women is more than four times that of white women.
There are substantial regional differences in the burden of HIV among Latinos across the United States. For example:
- The HIV diagnosis rate among Latinos in the Northeast is more than twice that of any other region in the country.
- While male-to-male sexual contact is the predominant mode of transmission among all Latinos newly diagnosed with HIV, Latinos in the Northeast are more likely than those in other regions to have been infected by intravenous drug use.
- Latinos diagnosed with HIV in the South are more likely than those in the Northeast to have been infected through male-to-male sexual contact.
- AIDS continues to claim the lives of too many Latino men and women. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 96,000 Hispanics with AIDS have died.