Fast Facts About AIDS and Women

AIDS is currently the leading cause of death for African-American women aged 25-44 and the sixth-leading cause of death for American women in this age group.

The percentage of AIDS cases among American females has more than tripled in 13 years, from 7 percent in 1985 to 23 percent in 1998.


African-American and Hispanic women account for over three-fourths of the AIDS cases in the U.S. even though they make up less than one-fourth of American women.

The most common ways HIV is transmitted are:

  • Through sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with an HIV-infected person
  • By sharing needles or injection equipment with an HIV-infected injection drug user.
  • To babies from HIV-infected women before or during birth, or through breast-feeding.

Women are more likely to get full-blown AIDS at a lower viral load than men.

While the number of AIDS cases is declining in the U.S., the number of people living with HIV is growing.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.