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HIV Among Asians

Fast Facts

  • The number of HIV diagnoses among Asians in the United States increased in recent years.
  • Among Asians, gay and bisexual men are most affected by HIV.
  • Around 1 in 5 Asians living with HIV in the United States do not know they have it.

	Photo of an Asian coupleBetween 2005 and 2014 the Asian population in the United States grew around 24%, more than three times as fast as the total U.S. population. During the same period, the number of Asians receiving an HIV diagnosis increased by nearly 70%. Asians continue to account for only 2% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas.a

The Numbers

HIV and AIDS Diagnosisb

  • Asians accounted for 2% (1,047) of the estimated 44,784 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas in 2014.
  • Of Asians diagnosed with HIV infection in 2014, 86% (900) were men and 13% (137) were women.
  • Gay and bisexual men accounted for 89% (799) of all HIV diagnoses among Asian men in 2014. Among Asian women, 94% (129) of HIV diagnoses were attributed to heterosexual contact.c
  • From 2005 to 2014, HIV diagnoses among Asian gay and bisexual men in the United States increased 101%.
  • In 2014, an estimated 353 Asians were diagnosed with AIDS, representing 2% of the estimated 21,318 AIDS diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas.

Living With HIVd

  • Of the 15,500 Asians estimated to be living with HIV in the United States in 2012, 21% (3,200) were undiagnosed. By comparison, 13% of all persons living with HIV in the United States were undiagnosed.
  • Of Asians diagnosed with HIV in 2013, 82% were linked to HIV medical care within 3 months of diagnosis.e
  • Of Asians who had been living with diagnosed HIV for at least a year at the end of 2012, 53% were retained in care (receiving continuous HIV medical care) and 54% had achieved viral suppression.

Estimated New HIV Diagnoses Among Adult and Adolescent Asians in the
United States and 6 Dependent Areas by Transmission Category and Sex, 2014

  	These pie charts show the estimated diagnoses of HIV Infection among adult and adolescent Asians, by transmission category and gender, in the United States and 6 Dependent Areas, 2013. Among Asian males, there were 799 new HIV diagnoses in 2013. 88% were due to male-to-male sex,  7% to heterosexual contact, 3% to injection drug use, 2% to male-to-male sex and injection drug use, and less than 1% to other. Among Asian females, there were 159 new HIV diagnoses in 2013. 94% were due to heterosexual contact, 3% to injection drug use, and 1% to other.

*Due to rounding, percentages might not total 100%. †Injection drug use. Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2014. HIV Surveillance Report 2015;26.

Prevention Challenges

There are some behaviors that put everyone at risk for HIV. These include having vaginal or anal sex without a condom or without being on medicines that prevent HIV, or sharing injection drug equipment with someone who has HIV. Factors that affect Asians particularly include:

  • Undiagnosed HIV. Over 1 in 5 (21%) Asians living with HIV do not know they have it. People living with undiagnosed HIV cannot obtain the care they need to stay healthy and may transmit HIV to others.
  • Cultural factors. Some Asians may avoid seeking testing, counseling, or treatment because of language barriers or fear of discrimination, the stigma of homosexuality, immigration issues, or fear of bringing shame to their families.
  • Limited research. Limited research about Asian health and HIV infection has resulted in few targeted prevention programs and behavioral interventions in this population.
  • Data limitations. The reported number of HIV cases among Asians may not reflect the true number of HIV diagnoses in this population because of race/ethnicity misidentification. This could lead to the underestimation of HIV infection in this population.

What CDC Is Doing

CDC and its partners are pursuing a high-impact prevention approach to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention methods, and improve surveillance among Asians. Funding state, territorial, and local health departments is CDC’s largest investment in HIV prevention.

a Dependent areas include American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
b HIV and AIDS diagnoses indicate when a person was diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS, not when the person was infected.
c Heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or to be at high risk for, HIV infection.
d Unless otherwise noted, Asians have HIV care outcomes similar to all races/ethnicities combined.
e Data for medical care and viral suppression are from 27 states and the District of Columbia (the areas with complete lab reporting by December 2014).