HIV Among LatinosThe HIV epidemic is a serious public health issue in the Latino1 community. In 2009, Latinos accounted for 20% (9,400) of new HIV infections while representing approximately 16% of the total US population. The HIV infection rate among Latinos in 2009 was nearly three times as high as that of whites (26.4 vs 9.1 per 100,000 population).
New HIV Infections2
- In 2009, Latino men accounted for 79% (7,400) of new infections among all Latinos. The rate of new infections among Latino men was two and a half times as high as that of white men (39.9/100,000 vs. 15.9/100,000).
- In 2009, Latino men who have sex with men (MSM)3 accounted for 81% (6,000) of new HIV infections among all Latino men and 20% among all MSM. Among Latino MSM, 45% of new HIV infections occurred in those under age 30.
- While Latina women accounted for 21% (2,000) of new infections among Latinos in 2009, their rate of HIV infection was more than four times that of white women (11.8/100,000 vs. 2.6/100,000).
Estimates of New HIV Infections in the United States, 2009, for the Most-Affected SubpopulationsSubpopulations representing 2% or less of the overall US epidemic are not reflected in this chart.
HIV and AIDS Diagnoses4 and Deaths
- At some point in life, 1 in 36 Latino men will be , diagnosed with HIV, as will 1 in 106 Latina women.
- In 2009, Latinos accounted for 19% of the 42,959 new diagnoses of HIV infection in the 40 states and 5 US dependent areas with long-term confidential name-based HIV infection reporting.
- In 2009, an estimated 7,442 Latinos were diagnosed with AIDS in the US and 5 US dependent areas. This number has decreased since 2006.
- By the end of 2008, an estimated 111,438 Latinos with an AIDS diagnosis had died in the US and dependent areas. In 2007, HIV was the fourth leading cause of death among Latinos aged 35–44 and the sixth leading cause of death among Latinos aged 25–34 in the US.
Prevention ChallengesA number of factors contribute to the HIV epidemic in Latino communities.
- Behavioral risk factors for HIV infection differ by country of birth. Data suggest that the highest percentages of diagnosed HIV infections among Latino men are attributed to sexual contact with other men, regardless of place of birth, but men born in Puerto Rico have a substantially larger percentage of diagnosed HIV infections attributed to injection drug use than Latino men born in other countries.
- Latino men and women are most likely to be infected with HIV as a result of sexual contact with men. Latina women may be unaware of their male partner’s risk factors.
- Injection drug use continues to be a risk factor for Latinos, particularly those living in Puerto Rico. In addition, both casual and chronic substance users may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex, when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The presence of certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can significantly increase one’s chances of contracting HIV infection. A person who has both HIV infection and certain STIs has a greater chance of infecting others with HIV. The rates of STIs remain high among Latinos.
- Cultural factors may affect the risk of HIV infection. Some Latinos may avoid seeking testing, counseling, or treatment if infected out of fear of discrimination, stigmatization or immigration status. Traditional gender roles and the stigma around homosexuality may add to prevention challenges.
- Greater acculturation into the US culture has both negative (engaging in behaviors that increase the risk for HIV infection) and positive (communicating with partners about practicing safer sex) effects on the health behaviors of Latinos.
- Socioeconomic factors such as poverty, migration patterns, lower educational attainment, inadequate health insurance, limited access to health care or language barriers add to Latino HIV infection rates. These factors may limit Latinos’
- Due to fear of disclosure, undocumented immigrants may be less likely to access HIV prevention services, get an HIV test, or receive adequate treatment and care if living with HIV.
What CDC Is DoingCDC supports research to develop new, effective behavioral interventions and to adapt existing interventions for Latino populations. CDC also supports the national dissemination of effective HIV behavioral interventions for Latinos that are delivered by health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) around the country. These interventions, in various stages of development and dissemination, include Connect (Connectémonos); ¡Cuídate!; Modelo de Intervención Psicomédica (MIP); Project AIM; Project FIO; and Salud, Educacion, Prevencion y Autocuidado (SEPA).
CDC has also initiated new projects and included language in funding opportunity announcements to expand the HIV prevention services currently available to Latinos. CDC funds states, territories, and CBOs within the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands to provide HIV prevention services to high-risk populations, including Latinos.
In 2009, as part of CDC’s Act Against AIDS campaign, CDC launched the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a $15.6 million, six-year partnership to increase HIV-related awareness, knowledge, and action in minority communities across the US. In 2010, CDC expanded AAALI to include three national organizations that focus on Latino populations. Also in 2010, CDC placed Spanish-language versions of Act Against AIDS campaign messages on billboards and bus shelters in predominantly Latino neighborhoods in six cities, as well as Spanish-language dioramas in five airports. CDC also distributed Spanish-language Act Against AIDS television public service announcements to Univision, Telemundo, TeleFutura, and NBC en Español television networks and their affiliate stations in 34 markets.
In 2011, CDC awarded $55 million over five years to 34 community-based organizations through Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PS11-1113: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Prevention Projects for Young Men of Color Who Have Sex with Men and Young Transgender Persons of Color to expand HIV prevention services for young gay and bisexual men of color and their partners. Organizations that serve Latinos were included in the funding to expand upon a previous program to reach these populations with an increase of $10 million to fund a larger number of community organizations. The average award for each organization is approximately $300,000 per year. The new CDC awards are designed to enable CBOs with strong links to these populations to meet their specific HIV prevention needs.
ReferencesFor more background information view the bibliography and other references used in this factsheet.
1Latinos can be of any race.
2New HIV Infections refer to HIV incidence, or the number of people who are newly infected with HIV
3The term men who have sex with men (MSM) is used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates the behaviors that transmit HIV infection, not how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality.
4 HIV and AIDS Diagnoses indicates when a person is diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS but does not indicate when the person was infected.