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FAST FACTS

  • Around a quarter of people living with HIV in the United States are women.
  • Most HIV diagnoses in women are attributed to heterosexual sex.
  • The annual number of HIV diagnoses among women has declined in recent years.

Though HIV diagnoses among women have declined sharply in recent years, more than 7,000 women received an HIV diagnosis in 2015. Black/African Americana women are disproportionately affected by HIV, compared with women of other races/ethnicities. Of the total number of women living with diagnosed HIV at the end of 2014, 60% (139,058) were African American, 17% (39,343) were white, and 17% (40,252) were Hispanic/Latina.

The Numbers
HIV and AIDS Diagnoses

  • Women made up 19% (7,402) of the 39,513 new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2015.
  • Overall, 86% (6,391) of HIV diagnoses among women were attributed to heterosexual sex,e and 13% (980) were attributed to injection drug use. But among white women, 32% of HIV diagnoses were attributed to injection drug use.
  • Among all women with HIV diagnosed in 2015, 61% (4,524) were African American, 19% (1,431) were white, and 15% (1,131) were Hispanic/Latina.
  • Annual HIV diagnoses declined 20% among women from 2010 to 2014. They declined 24% among African American women, 16% among Hispanic/Latina women, and 9% among white women.
  • Women accounted for 24% (4,459) of the 18,303 AIDS diagnoses in 2015 and represent 20% (248,270) of the 1,216,917 cumulative AIDS diagnoses in the United States from the beginning of the epidemic through the end of 2015.

HIV Diagnoses in the United States for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2015


Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2015. HIV Surveillance Report 2016;27. Subpopulations representing 2% or less of HIV diagnoses are not reflected in this chart. Abbreviation: MSM = men who have sex with men.

Living With HIV and Deaths

  • An estimated 287,400 women were living with HIV at the end of 2013, representing 23% of all Americans living with the virus. Of women living with HIV, around 11% do not know they are infected.
  • Of women diagnosed with HIV in 2014, 76% were linked to HIV medical care within 1 month.
  • Of women diagnosed with HIV in 2012 or earlier, 57% were retained in care (receiving continuous HIV medical care) at the end of 2013, and 52% had achieved viral suppression.
  • In 2014, 1,783 women died from HIV or AIDS.

Prevention Challenges

  • The greater number of people living with HIV (prevalence) in African American and Hispanic/Latino communities and the fact that people tend to have sex with partners of the same race/ethnicity result in women from these communities facing a greater risk of HIV infection with each new sexual encounter.
  • Because some women may be unaware of their male partner’s risk factors for HIV (such as injection drug use or having sex with men), they may not use condoms.
  • Assuming no prevention methods (such as condoms or medicines to prevent HIV) are used, women have a higher risk for getting HIV during vaginal sex than men do. The riskiest behavior for getting HIV is receptive anal sex. In a behavioral survey of heterosexual women at increased risk of HIV infection, 92% of HIV-negative women reported having vaginal sex without a condom in the previous year, and 25% reported having anal sex without a condom.
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, greatly increase the likelihood of getting or transmitting HIV.
  • Women who have been sexually abused may be more likely than women who have not to engage in sexual risk behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple sex partners, or having sex without a condom.
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