NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

AIDS Is An Epidemic Among Southern Black Women

July 3, 2001

Poor black women living in the 11 states of the old Confederacy are developing AIDS at an alarming rate, medical experts report. They say that in many ways the epidemic in the South more closely resembles the situation in the developing world than it does the rest of the country.

  • Women now account for one-quarter of all newly-diagnosed AIDS cases -- double the percentage of 10 years ago.
  • Although black women make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 16 percent of all new AIDS diagnoses in 1999 -- a percentage that has grown steadily since the syndrome was first identified 20 years ago.
  • By comparison, black males made up 35 percent of new cases in 1999, white males 27 percent, Latino males 14 percent, and white and Latino females were each 4 percent.
  • From 1981 to 1999, 26,522 black women developed AIDS in the 11 states of the former Confederacy.

"While the HIV epidemic is also increasingly affecting men in the South and black men, the overall trends for women are distinct," concluded researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a paper published in March in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "The HIV epidemic in women initially centered on injection-drug-using women in the urban Northeast, but now centers on women with heterosexual risk in the South."

Source: Kevin Sack, "Epidemic Takes Toll on Black Women," New York Times, July 3, 2001.

For N.Y. Times text


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