HIV is a virus spread through body fluids that affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS. Learn more about the stages of HIV and how to tell whether you’re infected.
Before we can stop any epidemic, we first have to recognize the magnitude of the disease. HIV is still a threat across the United States. And even though there are treatments to help people with HIV live longer than ever before, AIDS is still a significant health issue.
If we look at HIV infection by race and ethnicity we see that African Americans are most affected by HIV. In 2010, African Americans made up only 12% of the US population, but had 44% of all new HIV infections. Additionally, Hispanic/Latinos are also strongly affected. They make up 17% of the US population, but had 21% of all new HIV infections.
If we look at HIV infections by how people got the virus (transmission category), we see that men who have sex with men (MSM) are most at risk. In 2010, MSM had 63% of all new HIV infections, even though they made up only around 2% of the population. Individuals infected through heterosexual sex made up 25% of all new HIV infections in 2010.
Act Against AIDS (AAA) is an initiative launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House to combat complacency about HIV and AIDS in the United States. Launched in 2009, Act Against AIDS focuses on raising awareness among all Americans and reducing the risk of infection among the hardest-hit populations – gay and bisexual men, African Americans, Latinos, and other communities at increased risk.Learn more about HIV/AIDS at: http://www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/