HIV and African American People

Black/African Americana people account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnosesb and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black/African Americanc people accounted for 13% of the US populationd but 42% (16,002) of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.e

HIV Diagnoses

Black/African American people made up 42 percent of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas in 2018.
New HIV Diagnoses Among Black/African American People in the US and Dependent Areas by Transmission Category and Sex, 2018*
Among Black/African American people, most new HIV diagnoses were among men.

Among men, male-to-male sexual contact was the leading cause of HIV. Among women, heterosexual contact was the leading cause.

Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
* Based on sex assigned at birth and includes transgender people.
Includes perinatal exposure, blood transfusion, hemophilia, and risk factors not reported or not identified.
Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2018 (updated)HIV Surveillance Report 2020;31.

Download and Share This Infographicimage icon

New HIV Diagnoses Among the Most-Affected Populations in the US and Dependent Areas, 2018
Compared to other groups, Black/African American gay and bisexual men had the highest number of new HIV diagnoses.

Compared to other groups, Black/African American gay and bisexual men had the highest number of new HIV diagnoses.

Subpopulations representing 2% or less of all people who received an HIV diagnosis in 2018 are not represented in this chart.
*Hispanic/Latino people can be of any race.
Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2018 (updated)HIV Surveillance Report 2020;31.

Download and Share This Infographicimage icon

From 2014 to 2018, HIV diagnoses decreased 7% among Black/African American people overall. Good progress has been made with reducing HIV diagnoses among most age groups. Although one group—Black/African American people aged 25 to 34—saw a 7% increase, HIV diagnoses decreased among all other age groups.

HIV Diagnoses Among Black/African American People in the US and Dependent Areas, 2014-2018
Trends by Sex. Men down 6 percent. Women down 10 percent.

Among men, male-to-male sexual contact was the leading cause of HIV. Among women, heterosexual contact was the leading cause.

* Based on sex assigned at birth and includes transgender people.
Does not include perinatal and other transmission categories.
Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2018 (updated). HIV Surveillance Report 2020;31.

Download and Share This Infographicimage icon

People With HIV

Black/African American People With HIV in the US, 2018
At the end of 2018, an estimated 1.2 million people had HIV. Of those, 482,900 were among Black/African American people.

6 in 7 Black/African American people knew they had the virus.

graphic of a bottle of pills

It is important for Black/African American people to know their HIV status so they can take medicine to treat HIV if they have the virus. Taking HIV medicine every day can make the viral load undetectable. People who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or remain virally suppressed) can stay healthy for many years and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sex partners.

Compared to all people with HIV, Black/African American people have lower viral suppression rates. More work is needed to increase these rates. For every 100 Black/African American people with HIV in 2018, 63 received some HIV care, 48 were retained in care, and 51 were virally suppressed. For comparison, for every 100 people overall with HIV, 65 received some HIV care, 50 were retained in care, and 56 were virally suppressed.

* Had 2 viral load or CD4 tests at least 3 months apart in a year.
Based on most recent viral load test.
Source: CDC. Estimated HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States 2014–2018pdf iconHIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2020;25(1).
Source: CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomespdf icon [slides].

Download and Share This Infographicimage icon

Deaths

In 2018, there were 6,678 deaths among Black/African American people with diagnosed HIV in the US and dependent areas. These deaths could be from any cause.

Prevention Challenges

A woman with question marks.

Some African American people with HIV are unaware they have it. People who don’t know they have HIV can’t get the care and treatment they need and may transmit HIV to others without knowing it.

A blue stop stigma sign.

HIV stigma is common among people with HIV and negatively affects their quality of life. Stigma and fear of discrimination may prevent African American people with HIV from getting the care they need or disclosing their status.

A colorful hand with a heart in the middle.

Racism and discrimination and mistrust in the health care system may influence whether African American people seek or receive HIV prevention services. These issues may also reduce the likelihood of engaging in HIV treatment and care.

A hand holding a colorful flag.

Homophobia can make it difficult for some African American people to be open about risk-taking behaviors, which can increase stress, limit social support, and negatively affect health. These factors may prevent some African American people from accessing HIV prevention and care services.

Two people in a bed.

African American men and women have higher rates of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than other racial/ethnic communities. Having another STD can increase a person’s chance of getting or transmitting HIV.

A not equal symbol with two people sitting on opposite ends.

African American people experiencing poverty may find it harder to get HIV prevention and care services. The social and economic issues associated with poverty—including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education—directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV and affect the health of people with and at risk for HIV. These factors may explain why African American people have worse outcomes on the continuum of HIV care, including lower rates of viral suppression.

What CDC Is Doing

CDC is pursuing a high-impact HIV prevention approach to maximize the effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions and strategies. Funding state, territorial, and local health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) to develop and implement tailored programs is CDC’s largest investment in HIV prevention. This includes longstanding successful programs and new efforts funded through the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative. In addition to funding health departments and CBOs, CDC is also strengthening the HIV prevention workforce and developing HIV communication resources for consumers and health care providers.

  • Under the integrated HIV surveillance and prevention cooperative agreement, CDC awards around $400 million per year to health departments for HIV data collection and prevention efforts. This award directs resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, while supporting core HIV surveillance and prevention efforts across the US.
  • In 2019, CDC awarded $12 million to support the development of state and local Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. plans in 57 of the nation’s priority areas. To further enhance capacity building efforts, CDC uses HIV prevention resources to fund the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) $1.5 million per year to support strategic partnerships, community engagement, peer-to-peer technical assistance, and planning efforts.
  • In 2020, CDC awarded $109 million to 32 state and local health departments that represent the 57 jurisdictions across the United States prioritized in the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. This award supports the implementation of state and local Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. plans.
  • Under the flagship community-based organization cooperative agreement, CDC awards about $42 million per year to community organizations. This award directs resources to support the delivery of effective HIV prevention strategies to key populations.
  • In 2017, CDC awarded nearly $11 million per year for five years to 30 CBOs to provide HIV testing to young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender youth of color, with the goal of identifying undiagnosed HIV infections and linking those who have HIV to care and prevention services.
  • In 2019, CDC awarded up to $120 million over five years 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 campaign, CDC offers resources about HIV stigma, testing, prevention, and treatment and care. This campaign is part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative.

a Adult and adolescent Black/African American people aged 13 and older.
b 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.
c Black refers to people having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. African American is a term often used for people of African descent with ancestry in North America. This web content uses African American, unless referencing surveillance data.
d The US Census Bureau’s population estimates include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
e Includes the 6 dependent areas of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.

  1. CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2018 pdf icon[PDF – 7 MB]HIV Surveillance Report 2020;31.
  2. CDC. Estimated HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States, 2014-2018 pdf icon[PDF – 3 MB]HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2020;25(1).
  3. CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 dependent areas, 2018 pdf icon[PDF – 4 MB]HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2020;25(2).
  4. CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomes pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB] [slides].
  5. CDC. Behavioral and clinical characteristics of persons with diagnosed HIV infection—medical monitoring project, United States, 2018 cycle (June 2018–May 2019) pdf icon[PDF – 905 KB]HIV Surveillance Special Report 2020;25.
  6. CDC. Social determinants of health among adults with diagnosed HIV infection, 2018 pdf icon[PDF – 10 MB]. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2020;25(3).
  7. CDC. Highlighted CDC HIV prevention activities concerning HIV and African American gay and bisexual men [web page]. Accessed December 11, 2020.
  8. CDC. Sexually transmitted disease surveillance, 2018. Accessed December 11, 2020.
  9. Beer L, McCree DH, Jeffries WL 4th, Lemons A, Sionean C. Recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activities to reduce HIV stigmaexternal icon. J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care 2019;18:1-5.
  10. Randolph SD, Golin C, Welgus H, Lightfoot AF, Harding CJ, Riggins LF. How perceived structural racism and discrimination and medical mistrust in the health system influences participation in HIV health services for Black women living in the United States South: a qualitative, descriptive study. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care 2020;31(5):598-605. PubMed abstractexternal icon.
  11. US Census Bureau. Income and poverty in the United States: 2019external icon. Accessed December 11, 2020.
  12. US Census Bureau. Health insurance coverage in the United States: 2019external icon. Accessed December 11, 2020.