NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Blacks As Victims Of AIDS' 20-Year Toll

May 30, 2001

The first cases of AIDS were identified 20 years ago. Today, the number of Americans newly infected with the HIV virus has stabilized at an estimated 40,000 a year. But black men are far over-represented among those victims.

  • African-Americans -- who comprise roughly 12 percent of the population -- are now estimated to account for more than half of the new infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • So one in every 50 black men is believed to be HIV infected.
  • Among adult females -- who account for 30 percent of new infections -- black women account for an estimated 64 percent of new HIV cases.
  • Experts say African-Americans are less likely than whites to learn how to prevent infection -- and more likely to be infected without being diagnosed, and thus unwittingly pass the disease along to others.

Abroad, AIDS has become the scourge of African countries, where rates are astronomical.

  • In Botswana, the adult HIV rate is 35.80 percent -- compared to 0.61 percent for the U.S.
  • In 13 countries, the adult HIV rate exceeds 5 percent of the population -- and nearly all of those countries are in Africa.
  • One-tenth of the world's HIV-positive population resides in South Africa.

Source: Ann Carrns, "Twenty Years of AIDS in America: Blacks Now Account for Half of All New HIV Infections; Homosexuality Still Taboo," Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2001.

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