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AIDS Deaths Rising Among Hispanic Americans

The epidemic is also worsening in South Africa, new study finds

FRIDAY, Dec. 1, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- World AIDS Day 2006 finds U.S. Hispanics carrying much more than their share of the HIV epidemic, according to data from the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

The Washington, D.C.-based group notes that even though Hispanics make up just 14 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 19 percent of the nearly 1 million U.S. AIDS cases diagnosed since the epidemic began more than 25 years ago.

Hispanic-Americans are also getting tested and diagnosed far too late, on average. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, more than a third (39 percent) of Hispanics were diagnosed with full-blown AIDS within a year of testing positive -- meaning they only discovered their infection late in their illness.

Overall, the number of Hispanic-Americans who died of AIDS rose by 7 percent from 2000-2004, compared to a 19 percent decline in AIDS deaths among U.S. whites.

Other key statistics:

  • Nearly all (89 percent) of Hispanic-American AIDS cases are clustered in Puerto Rico and nine states -- California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
  • Hispanic women made up 21 percent of Hispanic AIDS cases diagnosed in 2004. In comparison, women represented 16 percent of AIDS cases diagnosed among whites during the same year.
  • About one-fourth (24 percent) of Hispanics living with HIV/AIDS have no health insurance, compared to 17 percent of non-Hispanic whites.

The situation is even more grim globally and getting worse. A study released Thursday found that, due to HIV/AIDS, 15-year-olds in South Africa now have a 56 percent chance of dying before they reach age 60, compared to a 29 percent chance for 15-year-olds in 1990, the Associated Press reported.

"The youth of today are facing a bleak future, and much still needs to be done to protect and support this vulnerable group," said Leigh Johnson, one of the authors of the report released by the Actuarial Society of South Africa and the Medical Research Council.

As of mid-2006, an estimated 5.4 million people in South Africa (population 48 million) were infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The report said that 950 people died each day in 2006 from AIDS-related causes, and 1,400 were newly-infected by HIV each day, the AP reported.

More information

Find out much more about HIV/AIDS at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Alliance for Hispanic Health
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