HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, GA and the U.S.

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports the following U.S. statistics for HIV/AIDS:

  • An estimated 1-1.2 million individuals are living with HIV infection, and more than 400,000 are living with AIDS.
  • More than 525,000 individuals have died due to AIDS.
  • One in 8 individuals infected with HIV are unaware of their status.
  • Overall the lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis has improved in the U.S.  to 1 in 99 compared to 1 in 78 in 2004-2005.

HIV/AIDS has changed drastically since the CDC first identified the disease in the 1980’s.  The face of AIDS has also changed.  In the U.S. the disease first affected gay white men.  Medical advances and strong efforts developed with in the gay community during the initial years succeeded in decreasing infection rates and developing safer sex practices that decreased new infections among this group.

Yet the disease did and has not gone away.

Despite biomedical advances and effective behavioral interventions, today new HIV infection disparately affects people of color and people who are poor, homeless, incarcerated, have other health challenges, unprotected sex, and/or use drugs.

HIV infections among this group are more likely to progress to AIDS because these communities have substantial or no access to health care and often do not get the level of treatment needed to reduce the virus’s destruction of their immune system.

So what does HIV/AIDS look like in Atlanta, Georgia?


HIV/AIDS in Atlanta, Georgia

  • Georgia ranks 4th in the number of new AIDS cases, 7th in cumulative AIDS cases, an 8th in the number of persons living with AIDS.
  • Of the 19 public health districts in Georgia, nine have an AIDS case rate above the national average.
  • Metro Atlanta accounts for 66% of total AIDS cases in Georgia.
  • Within Metro Atlanta Fulton and DeKalb Counties rank highest with Cobb and Douglas counties following close behind.
  • People living in the South are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV over the course of their lifetime with the highest risk in Washington, DC (1 in 13), Maryland (1 in 49), Georgia  (1 in 51), Florida (1 in 54), and Louisiana (1 in 56) rounding out the top five states.

Our Men

  • While African Americans make up 29% of Georgia’s population, they represent 77% of new AIDS cases in Georgia and 63% of all existing AIDS cases in Atlanta were among this group. (NOTE:  African Americans represent 13% of U.S. population yet account for 44% of new HIV infections.).
  • The lifetime HIV risk of African American men is 1 in 20 compared to 1 in 132 for whites.
  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)  4% of U.S. male population, still represent the largest group of people living with HIV/AIDS in Atlanta.
  • Gay and bisexual men continue to be most affected by HIV in the U.S.
  • At current rates 1 in 6 MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, including 1 in 2 black MSM, 1in 4 Latino MSM, and 1 in 11 white MSM.
  • MSM account for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections.

Our Women

  • The rate of black females living with an HIV diagnosis is 14.3 times that of white females.
  • Sixteen percent of AIDS cases result from injection drug use, and the proportion of AIDS in women has grown from 4% to 19% since 1987.
  • African-American women account for 87% of all women with AIDS in Atlanta.
  • New HIV infections among women are primarily attributed to heterosexual contact (84%) or injection  drug use (16%).
  • The lifetime HIV risk for African American females is 1 in 48 black  compared to 1 in 880 for whites.

Our Youth

  • New HIV infections were greatest among MSM’s aged 13-24 .
  • The greatest number of new HIV infections occurred in young black/African American MSM.
  • Young black MSM accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among black MSM and 55% of new HIV infections among young MSM overall.