HIV in the African American Community

Race alone is not a risk factor for HIV; however, African-Americans and people of African descent in the US bear the overwhelming burden of HIV across all other demographics. There are a few reasons for that. A legacy of medical inequality dating from slavery, unequal access to medical care and insurance, medical biases resulting in sub-standard care, and a history of unethical medical experimentation all result in distrust of medical systems in the US. Additionally, racism, stigma, poverty, and housing segregation all impact HIV rates among African Americans.

Between 2008-2011, African Americans accounted for:

  • 64 percent of all HIV infections among women;
  • 67 percent of all HIV infections among children below 13 years old;
  • 42 percent of all HIV infections among adolescent and adult males; and
  • 64 percent of all HIV infections among adolescent and adult females (Avert).