CDC HomeHIV/AIDS > Hispanics/Latinos > Resources

space Hispanics/Latinos
arrow Prevention Challenges
arrow What CDC is Doing
arrow What Hispanics/Latinos Can Do
arrow Resources
arrow Bibliography
arrow Links
PDF Icon   Link to a PDF document
Non-CDC Web Link   Link to non-governmental site and does not necessarily represent the views of the CDC
Adobe Acrobat (TM) Reader needs to be installed on your computer in order to read documents in PDF format. Download the Reader.
spacer spacer
Skip Nav
HIV/AIDS among Hispanics/Latinos
View PDF PDF Icon | En español April 2008

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a serious threat to the Hispanic/Latino community. In 2005, HIV/AIDS was the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanic/Latino men and women aged 35 to 44 [1].


HIV/AIDS in 2006

  • Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 18% of the 35,314 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in 33 states with long-term, confidential name based HIV reporting [2].
  • Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 17% of the 491,727 persons (including children) living with HIV/AIDS in the 33 states [2].
  • For Hispanic/Latino men living with HIV/AIDS, the most common methods of HIV transmission were (in order) sexual contact with other men, injection drug use, and high-risk heterosexual contact. For Hispanic/Latina women living with HIV/AIDS, the most common methods of transmission were high-risk heterosexual contact and injection drug use [3].

Race/ethnicity of persons (including children) with HIV/AIDS diagnosed during 2006

No. = 35,314

Black: 49%
White: 30%
Hispanic/Latinos: 18%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1%
American Indian/Alaska Native: <1%

Based on data from 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.

AIDS in 2006

  • Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 19% of new AIDS diagnoses and 19% of all people living with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia [2].
  • Of the rates of AIDS diagnoses for adults and adolescents in all racial and ethnic groups, the second highest (after the rate for blacks) was the rate for Hispanics/Latinos [2].
  • Although Hispanics/Latinos made up only about 13% of the population of the United States, they accounted for 16% of the estimated 982,498 AIDS cases diagnosed in the 50 states and the District of Columbia since the beginning of the epidemic [2].
  • By the end of 2006, an estimated 80,690 Hispanics/Latinos with AIDS in the 50 states and the District of Columbia had died [2].


A number of cultural, socioeconomic, and health-related factors contribute to the HIV epidemic and prevention challenges in the US Hispanic/Latino community.

  • Behavioral risk factors for HIV infection differ by country of birth. For example, data suggest that Hispanics/Latinos born in Puerto Rico are more likely than other Hispanics/Latinos to contract HIV as a result of injection drug use or high-risk heterosexual contact. By contrast, sexual contact with other men is the primary cause of HIV infections among Hispanic/Latino men born in Central or South America, Cuba, Mexico, or the United States [2].
  • Hispanic/Latina women and Hispanic/Latino men are most likely to be infected with HIV as a result of sex with men [2]. Therefore, prevention program staff need to address issues specific to the Hispanics/Latinos to whom a particular program is directed: for example, condom usage (men and women) or the balance of power within relationships (especially women).
  • Injection drug use continues to be a risk factor for Hispanics/Latinos, particularly those living in Puerto Rico [2]. Both casual and chronic substance users are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex, when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The rates of sexually transmitted diseases, which can increase the chances of contracting HIV, are higher for Hispanics/Latinos. In 2006, the rate of chlamydial infection for Hispanics/Latinos was about 3 times the rate for whites (not Hispanic/ Latino), and the rates of gonorrhea and syphilis for Hispanics/Latinos were about twice the rates for whites [3].
  • Certain cultural beliefs can affect one’s risk for HIV infection. For example, among men, machismo has positive implications for HIV prevention, such as strength and protection of the family; however, proving masculinity through power and dominance can lead both straight and gay Hispanic/Latino men to engage in risky sexual behavior.
  • Greater acculturation into the US culture has both negative (engaging in behaviors that increase the risk for HIV infection) and positive (communicating with partners about practicing safer sex) effects on the health behaviors of Hispanics/Latinos.
  • More than 1 in 5 (21.9%) Hispanics/Latinos live in poverty [4]. Problems associated with poverty, including unemployment, a lack of formal education, inadequate health insurance, and limited access to high-quality health care, can increase the risk for HIV infection.
  • The migration patterns, social structure, language barriers, and lack of regular health care among transient Hispanic/Latino immigrants can affect awareness and hinder access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care.


To reduce the incidence of HIV infection, CDC released Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health-Care Settings in 2006. These new recommendations advise routine HIV screening for adults, adolescents, and pregnant women in health care settings in the United States. CDC also

  • Conducts epidemiologic and behavioral research focused on Hispanics/Latinos
  • Supports efforts to reduce the health disparities experienced in the communities of minority races and ethnicities at high risk for HIV infection
  • Provides effective, scientifically based interventions to organizations serving Hispanics/Latinos and is tailoring other effective behavioral interventions to Hispanics/Latinos who are at high risk for HIV infection
  • Builds the capacity of programs that serve Hispanics/Latinos through partnerships with national, regional, and nongovernmental organizations

In 2006, CDC provided 56 awards to community-based organizations in the United States and Puerto Rico that focus primarily on Hispanics/Latinos. CDC also provides funding through state, territorial, and local health departments to organizations serving this population. In addition, CDC provides training for researchers of minority races/ ethnicities and in 2002 established the Minority HIV/AIDS Research Initiative (MARI) to create partnerships between CDC epidemiologists and researchers who are members of minority races and ethnicities and who work in communities of color. CDC invests $2 million per year in the program and since 2003 has funded 13 junior investigators at 12 sites across the country.


  1. CDC. WISQARS [Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System] leading causes of death reports, 2005.
  2. CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2006. Vol. 18. US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2008:1-55.
  3. CDC. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2006. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2007.
  4. DeNavas-Walt C, Proctor BD, Lee CH. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004.PDF Icon Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 2005. Current Population Reports P60-229.
Last Modified: March 31, 2008
Last Reviewed: March 31, 2008
Content Source:
Divisions of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Home | Policies and Regulations | Disclaimer | e-Government | FOIA | Contact Us
spacer Safer, Healthier People
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -
spacer The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDHHS Department of Health
and Human Services