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Issues

HIV/AIDS – The Situation at the Federal Level

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitor annual HIV infection and AIDS diagnosis rates in order to keep track of the epidemic and gain a better understanding of communities most affected by it. Monitoring cases of HIV/AIDS allows the CDC and others to improve prevention and education techniques by tailoring them to the specific communities they serve.

To do this, the CDC keeps track of infection and diagnosis rates among different age, race, ethnicity and gender categories. According to CDC statistics, there were an estimated 48,100 newly infected individuals in 2009. Men who have sex with men (MSM)* accounted for 61% of these infections. Another key finding is that racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected. Although African-Americans and Latinos make up only 14% and 16% of the nation’s population respectively, these groups comprised 44% and 20% of new infections in 2009.

*(The term “men who have sex with men” (MSM) is used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates the behaviors that transmit HIV infection, rather than how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality. Source: Centers for Disease Control)

As of 2004, the CDC had confirmed no cases of HIV transmission between women whose only risk factor was sex with other women. For women who had sex with women and were also infected, another risk factor was present, most commonly intravenous drug use or sex with men who are infected or at risk for infection.

For more information, please visit the HIV/AIDS section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

In 2010, the Obama administration produced a national strategy for battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic in America. This document, a first of its kind, is meant to provide a long-term vision for reducing infection rates and increasing access to vital medical care for those who are already infected. Read the  National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States.