Women and HIV/AIDS

United States

  • Black women account for 66% of new cases of HIV among women. 
  • HIV/AIDS related illness is now the leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-34. 
  • Women account for one in four new HIV diagnoses and deaths caused by AIDS. 
  • The proportion of AIDS diagnoses reported among women has more than tripled since 1985. 
  • The vast majority of women diagnosed with HIV contracted the virus through heterosexual sex (87% of new infections in 2010.) 
  • African Americans and Hispanics represent 26 percent of all women in the U.S. but they account for 82 percent of AIDS cases among women. 
  • African-American women have an HIV prevalence rate nearly 20 times that of white women. 
  • Among women living with HIV in the U.S., more than 8 in 10 (88%) have been diagnosed, but only 32% have the virus under control.

Globally 

  • In sub-Saharan Africa, women constitute 58 percent of all people living with HIV/AIDS. 
  • Worldwide, women constitute more than half of all people living with HIV/AIDS. 
  • For women in their reproductive years (15–49), HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death. 
  • Women are at least twice as likely to acquire HIV from men during sexual intercourse than vice versa. 
  • Among young people aged 15-24, the HIV prevalence rate for young women is twice that of young men. 
  • According to UNAIDS, women who have experienced violence are up to three times more likely to be infected with HIV than those who have not.
  • A study in South Africa recently suggested that nearly one in seven cases of young women acquiring HIV could have been prevented if the women had not been subjected to intimate partner violence. 
  • Gender inequalities are a major driving force behind the AIDS epidemic. 
  • Social norms that deny women sexual health knowledge prevent them from controlling their bodies or deciding the terms on which they have sex. 
  • Compounding women’s vulnerability is their limited access to economic opportunities and autonomy. 
  • Adolescents (10–19 years) are the only age group in which AIDS deaths have risen between 2001 and 2012. AIDS related deaths among adolescents increased by 50 percent between 2005 and 2012.

Sources: UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report 2012; UNAIDS Fact Sheet 2012;
Kaiser Family Foundation;  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.