HIV Among Women

Though HIV diagnosesa among women have declined in recent years, more than 7,000 women received an HIV diagnosis in the United States and dependent areas in 2017.b

The Numbers

 HIV Diagnoses

In 2017, adult and adolescent women made up 19% (7,401) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses.

New HIV Diagnoses Among Women in the US and Dependent Areas, 2017

By Transmission Category

This pie chart shows new HIV diagnoses among women in the United States and dependent areas in 2017 by transmission category. Heterosexual contact = 86%; Injection drug use = 14%; Other = 1%.

Total may not equal 100% due to rounding.

By Race/Ethnicity

This pie chart shows new HIV diagnoses among women in the United States and dependent areas in 2017 by race/ethnicity. Black/African American = 59%; White = 20%; Hispanic/Latina = 16%; Other races/ethnicities = 4%.

Total may not equal 100% due to rounding.

New HIV Diagnoses Among Women in the US and Dependent Areas by Age, 2017

This pie chart shows new HIV diagnoses among women in the United States and dependent areas in 2017 by age. 13 to 24 = 14%; 25 to 34 = 27%; 35 to 44 = 23%; 45 to 54 = 20%; 55 and older = 16%.

New HIV Diagnoses in the US and Dependent Areas for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2017

This bar chart shows new HIV diagnoses for the most-affected subpopulations in the United States and dependent areas in 2017. Black/African American, Male-to-male sexual contact = 9,807; Hispanic/Latino, Male-to-male sexual contact = 7,436; White, Male-to-male sexual contact = 6,982; Black/African American Women, Heterosexual contact = 4,008; Black/African American Men, Heterosexual contact = 1,717; Hispanic Women/Latinas, Heterosexual contact = 1,058; White Women, Heterosexual contact = 999.

Subpopulations representing 2% or less of HIV diagnoses are not reflected in this chart.
Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2017pdf icon. HIV Surveillance Report 2018;29.

From 2010 to 2016, HIV diagnoses decreased 21% among women overall in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. But trends varied for different groups of women.

HIV Diagnoses Among Women in the 50 States and District of Columbia, 2010-2016

This chart shows HIV diagnoses trends among women from 2010 to 2016. HIV diagnoses among women overall decreased 21%, black/African American women decreased 25%, Hispanic/Latina women decreased 20%, white women remained stable, women aged 13 to 24 decreased 32%, women aged 25 to 34 decreased 13%, women aged 35 to 44 decreased 27%, women aged 45 to 54 decreased 27%, and women aged 55 and older remained stable.

Source: CDC. NCHHSTP AtlasPlus. Accessed February 20, 2019.

Living With HIV

In the 50 states and the District of Columbia:

An estimated 258,000 women had HIV in 2016, representing 23% of all people with HIV.e Of those, an estimated 89% were aware of their infection.

For every 100 women with HIV in 2015, 65 received some HIV care, 51 were retained in care, and 51 were virally suppressed.

Source: CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomespdf icon (slides).

graphic of a bottle of pills

 

A person with HIV who takes HIV medicine as prescribed and gets and stays virally suppressed or undetectable can stay healthy and has effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners.

Deaths

In 2016, there were 3,893 deaths among women with diagnosed HIV in the US and dependent areas. These deaths may be due to any cause.

Prevention Challenges

1 in 9 women with HIV are unaware they have it. People who do not know they have HIV cannot take advantage of HIV care and treatment and may unknowingly pass HIV to others.

Because some women may be unaware of their male partner’s risk factors for HIV (such as injection drug use or having sex with men), they may not use condoms or medicines to prevent HIV. In a behavioral surveypdf icon of heterosexual women at increased risk of HIV infection, 93% of HIV-negative women reported having vaginal sex without a condom in the previous year, and 26% reported having anal sex without a condom.

In general, receptive sex is riskier than insertive sex. This means that women have a higher risk for getting HIV during vaginal or anal sex than their sex partners.

HIV testing rates within the past year were low among women with sexual behaviors that increase their risk of acquiring HIV and especially low among those who reported anal sex. A recent studyexternal icon found that only 20% of women who reported anal sex also reported having an HIV test. Receptive anal sex is the riskiest behavior for getting HIV.

Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, greatly increase the likelihood of getting or transmitting HIV.

Women who have been sexually abused may be more likely than women who have not to engage in sexual risk behaviors like exchanging sex for drugs, having multiple sex partners, or having sex without a condom.

What CDC Is Doing

CDC funds state and local health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) to deliver effective HIV prevention services for women. For example:

  • Under the new integrated HIV surveillance and prevention cooperative agreement, CDC is awarding around $400 million per year to health departments for surveillance and prevention efforts. This award will direct resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, while supporting core HIV surveillance and prevention efforts across the United States.
  • Under the flagship community-based organization cooperative agreement, CDC awarded about $42 million per year to community organizations. This award directs resources to support the delivery of effective HIV prevention strategies to people at greatest risk.
  • In 2019, CDC will award a new cooperative agreement to strengthen the capacity and improve the performance of the nation’s HIV prevention workforce. New elements include dedicated providers for web-based and classroom-based national training and technical assistance tailored within four geographic regions.
  • Through its Let’s Stop HIV Together campaigns and partnerships, CDC provides women with effective and culturally appropriate messages about HIV prevention and treatment. For example,
    • Stop HIV Stigma fights stigma among all Americans and provides many stories about people living with HIV.
    • Doing It encourages all adults to know their HIV status and protect themselves and their community by making HIV testing a part of their regular health routine.
    • HIV Treatment Works shows how people living with HIV have overcome barriers to stay in care and provides resources on how to live well with HIV.
    • Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) to Act Against AIDS, a 5-year partnership with organizations such as AIDS United and I Choose Life, is raising awareness about testing, prevention, and retention in care among populations disproportionately affected by HIV.

a HIV diagnoses refers to the number of people who received an HIV diagnosis during a given time period, not when the people got HIV infection.
b Unless otherwise noted, the term United States (US) includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 6 dependent areas of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
c Hispanics/Latinas can be of any race.
d Black refers to people having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa, including immigrants from the Caribbean, and South and Latin America. African American is a term often used for Americans of African descent with ancestry in North America. Individuals may self-identify as either, both, or choose another identity altogether.
e Includes diagnosed and undiagnosed HIV infections among adults and adolescents.

Additional Resources
    1. CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2017pdf icon. HIV Surveillance Report 2018;29.
    2. CDC. HIV infection, risk, prevention, and testing behaviors among heterosexuals at increased risk of HIV infection—national HIV behavioral surveillance, 17 U.S. cities, 2016pdf icon. HIV Surveillance Special Report 19.
    3. CDC. HIV risk behaviors. Accessed February 20, 2019.
    4. CDC. NCHHSTP AtlasPlus. Accessed February 20, 2019.
    5. CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomespdf icon (slides).
    6. CDC. Sexually transmitted disease surveillance, 2017. Accessed February 20, 2019.
    7. Cavanaugh CE, Hansen NB, Sullivan TP. HIV sexual risk behavior among low-income women experiencing intimate partner violence: The role of posttraumatic stress disorder. AIDS Behav 2010;14(2):318-27. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
    8. Coker AL. Does physical intimate partner violence affect sexual health? A systematic review. Trauma Violence Abuse 2007;8(2):149-77. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
    9. Dinenno EA, Oster AM, Sionean C, Denning P, Lansky A. Piloting a system for behavioral surveillance among heterosexuals at increased risk of HIV in the United States. Open AIDS J 2012;6:169-76. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
    10. Evans ME, Tao G, Porter SE, Gray SC, Huang YA, Hoover KW. Low HIV testing rates among US women who report anal sex and other HIV sexual risk behaviors, 2011-2015. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2018;219(4):1-7. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
    11. Herbenick D, Reece M, Schick V, Sanders SA, Dodge B, Fortenberry JD. Sexual behavior in the United States: Results from a national probability sample of men and women ages 14-94. J Sex Med 2010;7 Suppl 5:255-65. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
    12. Mosack KE, Randolph ME, Dickson-Gomez J, Abbott M, Smith E, Weeks MR. Sexual risk-taking among high-risk urban women with and without histories of childhood sexual abuse: Mediating effects of contextual factors. J Child Sex Abus 2010;19(1):43-61. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
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