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HIV Among Hispanics/Latinos

Fast Facts

  • Hispanics/Latinos are disproportionately affected by HIV.
  • About 7 in 10 new HIV diagnoses among Hispanics/Latinos occur in gay and bisexual men.
  • About half of Hispanics/Latinos diagnosed with HIV are retained in HIV care.

photo of an Hispanic couple looking at a laptop

HIV continues to be a serious threat to the health of the Hispanic/Latinoa community. In 2014, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for almost one quarter of all estimated new diagnoses of HIV in the United States and 6 dependent areas,b despite representing about 17% of the total US population.

The Numbers

HIV and AIDS Diagnosesc

  • In 2014, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 24% (10,887) of the estimated 44,784 new diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and 6 dependent areas. Of those, 86% (9,379) were in men, and 14% (1,490) were in women.
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with mend accounted for 84% (7,893) of the estimated HIV diagnoses among Hispanic/Latino men in 2014.
  • Among Hispanic women/Latinas, 86% (1,282) of the estimated HIV diagnoses were attributed to heterosexual contact.e
  • From 2005 to 2014, HIV diagnoses declined 4% among all Hispanics/Latinos, but trends varied among subgroups.
    • Diagnoses among Hispanic women/Latinas declined steadily (35%).
    • Diagnoses among all Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men increased (24%).
    • Diagnoses among young Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 24) increased (87%). This trend has slowed in recent years, with diagnoses among young gay and bisexual Hispanic/Latino men increasing 16% from 2010 to 2014.
  • If current rates continue, 1 in 4 Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
  • In 2014, an estimated 4,689 Hispanics/Latinos were diagnosed with AIDS.

Estimated New HIV Diagnoses in the United States and 6 Dependent Areas for the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2014

Bar chart shows the estimated new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2014 for the most-affected subpopulations. Black MSM=11,207. White MSM=9,012. Hispanic/Latino MSM=7,893. Black Women, Heterosexual Contact=4,657. Black Men, Heterosexual Contact = 2,113. Hispanic/Latina Women, Heterosexual Contact=1,282.

Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2014. HIV Surveillance Report 2015;26.

Living With HIV and Deaths

  • At the end of 2013, an estimated 263,900 Hispanics/Latinos were living with HIV in the United States. Of these, 15% (40,400) were living with undiagnosed HIV.
  • Among Hispanics/Latinos who were diagnosed with HIV in 2014, 84% were linked to care within 3 months.f
  • Among Hispanics/Latinos diagnosed with HIV in 2012 or earlier and alive at the end of 2013, 58% were retained in HIV care, and 54% had a suppressed viral load.g
  • In 2013, in the United States and 6 dependent areas, there were an estimated 2,550 deaths (due to any cause) of Hispanics/Latinos with diagnosed HIV infection ever classified as AIDS; in 2014, 916 deaths among Hispanics/Latinos were attributed directly to HIV.

Prevention Challenges

A number of factors contribute to the HIV epidemic in Latino communities.

  • A higher prevalence of HIV in Latino communities. More people are living with HIV (prevalence) in Hispanic/Latino communities than among some other races/ethnicities. Since Hispanics/Latinos tend to have sex with partners of the same race/ethnicity, the risk of HIV infection among Hispanics/Latinos is increased.
  • Higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Hispanics/Latinos have relatively high rates for STDs compared to some other races/ethnicities, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Research shows that the presence of another STD makes it easier to become infected with HIV.
  • Cultural factors. Some Hispanics/Latinos might not seek testing, counseling, or treatment if infected because of stigma and discrimination. Traditional gender roles, cultural norms (“machismo” or toughness for males and “marianismo” or purity for females), and the stigma around homosexuality may add to prevention challenges.
  • Social and structural factors. Poverty, migration patterns, lower educational level, limited access to health care, and language barriers may contribute to HIV among Hispanics/Latinos by limiting awareness about risks and opportunities for testing and care.
  • Immigration status. Undocumented Hispanic/Latino immigrants may be afraid of disclosing their immigration status, making Hispanic/Latino immigrants less likely to access HIV prevention services, get an HIV test, or seek adequate treatment if HIV-positive.

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: Updated to 2020 and maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention methods. Activities include

  • Support and technical assistance to health departments and community-based organizations to deliver effective prevention interventions for Hispanics/Latinos:
  • Starting in 2012, CDC has awarded at least $330 million each year ($343.7 million in 2015) to health departments to direct resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, including Hispanics/Latinos, and prioritize the HIV prevention strategies that will have the greatest impact.
  • Beginning in 2011, CDC awarded $11 million per year for 5 years to 34 community-based organizations to provide HIV testing to more than 90,000 young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender youth of color with the goals of identifying more than 3,500 previously unrecognized HIV infections and linking those who have HIV to care and prevention services. CDC recently announced a new funding opportunity that will begin in 2017 and continue for 5 years, depending on the availability of funds.
  • The Act Against AIDS initiative, which raises awareness about HIV through multiple campaigns and partnerships such as
    • Let’s Stop HIV Together(Detengamos Juntos el VIH),which raises awareness about HIV and its impact on the lives of all Americans.
    • Doing It, which motivates individuals to get tested for HIV and know their status.
    • Start Talking. Stop HIV., whichencourages open discussion about a range of HIV prevention strategies and related sexual health issues between sex partners.
    • Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT), a new 5-year partnership with organizations such as the National Hispanic Medical Association, to raise awareness about testing, prevention, and retention in care among populations disproportionately affected by HIV, including Hispanics/Latinos.
  1. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.
  2. Dependent areas: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
  3. HIV and AIDS diagnoses indicate when a person is diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS, not when the person was infected.
  4. The term male-to-male sexual contact is used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates a behavior that transmits HIV infection, not how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality. This fact sheet uses the term gay and bisexual men to refer to all men who have sex with men.
  5. Heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or be at high risk for, HIV infection.
  6. Data for linkage to care, retention in care, and viral load suppression are based on 32 states and the District of Columbia (the areas with complete lab reporting by December 2015).
  7. A person with a suppressed viral load has a very low level of the virus. That person can stay healthy and has a dramatically lower

Additional Resources


  1. CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2014. HIV Surveillance Report 2015;26.
  2. US Census Bureau. State and County QuickFacts. Accessed July 2016.
  3. CDC. Diagnoses and prevalence of HIV infection among Hispanics/Latinos—United States, 2008-2013. MMWR 2015;64(39):1097-103.
  4. CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data: United States and 6 dependent areas—2014. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2015;21(4). Accessed July 2016.
  5. CDC. National Vital Statistics Report: Death Leading Causes for 2014. Accessed July 2016.
  6. Reisen CA, Zea MC, Bianchi FT, Poppen PJ, Shedlin MG, Penha MM. Latino gay and bisexual men’s relationships with non-gay-identified men who have sex with men. J Homosex 2010;57(8):1004-21. Accessed July 2016.
  7. CDC. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2014. November 2014. Accessed July 2016.
  8. Albarracin J, Plambeck CR. Demographic factors and sexist beliefs as predictors of condom use among Latinos in the USA. AIDS Care 2010;22(8):1021-8. Accessed July 2016.
  9. Shedlin MG, Decena CU, Oliver-Velez D. Initial acculturation and HIV risk among new Hispanic immigrants. J Natl Med Assoc 2005;97(7 Suppl):32S-37S. Accessed July 2016.
  10. Duran D, Usman HR, Beltrami J, Alvarez ME, Valleroy L, Lyles CM. HIV counseling and testing among Hispanics at CDC-funded sites in the United States, 2007. Am J Public Health 2010;100(Suppl 1):S152-8. Accessed July 2016.
  11. del Rio C. Latinos and HIV care in the southeastern United States: new challenges complicating longstanding problems. Clin Infect Dis 2011;53(5):488-9. Accessed July 2016.