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– Epidemiology of HIV in Women

Epidemiology Key Considerations

Global Epidemiology of HIV among Women

Of the 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, 50% of them are women.1 (Figure 1)  Women represent more than half (58%) of all people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa with HIV infection the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.1 (Figure 1)  Women are vulnerable to HIV infection because of social factors, such as gender inequalities in many societies, differential access to services, and sexual violence. This is compounded by a woman's biological susceptibility to HIV infection, especially younger women.1  Globally, young women are twice as likely to become infected with HIV as their male counterparts; in some areas they are more impacted than young men.1


Figure 1. Percentage of Adults Living with HIV who are Female 1990-2009


Epidemiology of HIV among Women in the United States (US)

  • Approximately 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the US.2
  • Women have been impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic from the beginning.2
  • Women are more likely to be infected through high risk heterosexual contact.2
  • Approximately 25% of adults and adolescents aged 13 years and older living with a diagnosis of HIV in the US were women at the close of 2011.2
  • Black/African American women are disproportionately affected by HIV compared with women of other races.2  (see Figure 2)
    • An estimated 1 in 32 Black/African American women will be diagnosed  with HIV infection, compared to 1 in 106 Hispanic/Latina women and 1 in  526 white women.2
    • The increased rate of HIV acquisition among Black and Hispanic women  is attributable to their vulnerable social and economic situations and their  sexual networks rather than to their own risky behaviors.2


Figure 2. Diagnoses of HIV Infection among Adults and Adolescent Females, by Race Ethnicity 2011.


Links for Epidemiology of HIV among Women

Global Report, UNAIDS Report on the Global 

European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention: Annual Epidemiological Reports

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: HIV Among Women



  1. UNAIDS Global report.  Accessed 18 Nov 2013.  
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accessed 18 Nov 2013.