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HIV and African American People

Source: Center for Disease Control

Black/African Americana people account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people with HIV, compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black/African Americanc people accounted for 13% of the US population but 42% (16,002) of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.




In 2018, there were 6,678 deaths among Black/African American people with diagnosed HIV in the US and dependent areas. These deaths could be from any cause.

Prevention Challenges

  • Some African American people with HIV are unaware they have it. People who don’t know they have HIV can’t get the care and treatment they need and may transmit HIV to others without knowing it.
  • HIV stigma is common among people with HIV and negatively affects their quality of life. Stigma and fear of discrimination may prevent African American people with HIV from getting the care they need or disclosing their status.
  • Racism and discrimination and mistrust in the health care system may influence whether African American people seek or receive HIV prevention services. These issues may also reduce the likelihood of engaging in HIV treatment and care.
  • Homophobia can make it difficult for some African American people to be open about risk-taking behaviors, which can increase stress, limit social support, and negatively affect health. These factors may prevent some African American people from accessing HIV prevention and care services.
  • African American men and women have higher rates of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) than other racial/ethnic communities. Having another STD can increase a person’s chance of getting or transmitting HIV.
  • African American people experiencing poverty may find it harder to get HIV prevention and care services. The social and economic issues associated with poverty—including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education—directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV and affect the health of people with and at risk for HIV. These factors may explain why African American people have worse outcomes on the continuum of HIV care, including lower rates of viral suppression.

What CDC Is Doing

CDC is pursuing a high-impact HIV prevention approach to maximize the effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions and strategies. Funding state, territorial, and local health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) to develop and implement tailored programs is CDC’s largest investment in HIV prevention. This includes longstanding successful programs and new efforts funded through the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. In addition to funding health departments and CBOs, CDC is also strengthening the HIV prevention workforce and developing HIV communication resources for consumers and health care providers.

  • Under the integrated HIV surveillance and prevention cooperative agreement, CDC awards around $400 million per year to health departments for HIV data collection and prevention efforts. This award directs resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, while supporting core HIV surveillance and prevention efforts across the US.
  • In 2019, CDC awarded $12 million to support the development of state and local Ending the HIV Epidemic plans in 57 of the nation’s priority areas. To further enhance capacity building efforts, CDC uses HIV prevention resources to fund the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) $1.5 million per year to support strategic partnerships, community engagement, peer-to-peer technical assistance, and planning efforts.
  • In 2020, CDC awarded $109 million to 32 state and local health departments that represent the 57 jurisdictions across the United States prioritized in the Ending the HIV Epidemic. This award supports the implementation of state and local Ending the HIV Epidemic plans.
  • Under the flagship community-based organization cooperative agreement, CDC awards about $42 million per year to community organizations. This award directs resources to support the delivery of effective HIV prevention strategies to key populations.
  • In 2017, CDC awarded nearly $11 million per year for five years to 30 CBOs to provide HIV testing to young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender youth of color, with the goal of identifying undiagnosed HIV infections and linking those who have HIV to care and prevention services.
  • In 2019, CDC awarded up to $120 million over five years to strengthen the capacity and improve the performance of the nation’s HIV prevention workforce. New elements include dedicated providers for web-based and classroom-based national training, and technical assistance tailored within four geographic regions.

Through its Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, CDC offers resources about HIV stigma, testing, prevention, and treatment and care. This campaign is part of the Ending the HIV Epidemic.

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