Discussing your partner’s sexual background, or their last sexually transmitted disease test results, may be an uncomfortable topic for many, but recent studies suggest that this topic ought to be front and center for couples. This is especially true for African-American couples living within major metropolitan areas.

Throughout the nation, HIV/AIDS has disproportionately affected the African-American community. Recent studies have shown that African-Americans and gay and bisexual men (irrespective of race or ethnicity) continue to bear the brunt of HIV infections in the US. Although African-Americans represent 13 percent of the U.S. population, we represent 46 percent of the people living with HIV. Since African-American AIDS cases surpassed that of Whites in 1994, the difference in the ratio between the two subgroups has steadily increased. Furthermore, African-Americans comprise the greatest proportion of HIV/AIDS cases across many transmission categories, including among women, heterosexual men, injection drug users, and infants. These statistics are shocking and reveal how the virus has affected many African-American relationships and communities across the country.

Within these statistics, the rates of infection for African-American women are even more startling. HIV/AIDS case rates among African-American women are almost twenty times higher than among White women. This article is meant to highlight HIV/AIDS statistics in five metropolitan areas (Atlanta, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC) in an effort to raise awareness about the disease within the African-American community, and to give the readers reason to pause before having unprotected sex. As Sir Francis Bacon once said, “Knowledge is Power.” Remember to b cool. b safe. b yourself. b condoms


  • Atlanta statistics mirror nationwide statistics—the impact of HIV and AIDS on African Americans is severely disproportionate to their overall numbers. 78 percent of diagnosed HIV (non-AIDS) cases were among African Americans, who make up only 30 percent of Georgia’s population.
  • Black women in Fulton County (Atlanta’s home county) have a HIV/AIDS rate 15 times higher than their White counterparts.
  • Although African-Americans consist of 61 percent of Atlanta’s population, they make up 80 percent of new HIV diagnoses.
  • HIV infection rates in Fulton County were 83.6 per 100,000 people among Blacks, as compared to 11.2 among White residents.

Miami-Dade County

  • The HIV/AIDS epidemic disproportionately affects minority populations throughout the nation, and especially in the Miami-Dade County Eligible Metropolitan Area (EMA).
  • While Blacks comprise 20 percent of the general population, they represent 55 percent of AIDS incidence.
  • Blacks, including Haitians and Caribbean Islanders, represent 49 percent of living AIDS cases and 47 percent of living HIV cases, although they represent only 20 percent of the total County population.
  • Blacks (including Haitians and Caribbean Islanders) and Hispanics together account for nearly 90 percent of the Eligible Metropolitan Area’s AIDS incidence.
  • Of these totals, Blacks represent 48 percent and Hispanics 38 percent of the total HIV/AIDS prevalence; combined they represent 86 percent of total prevalence in the EMA.

New York

  • Persons of color continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS: greater than 80 percent of new HIV diagnoses in the first half of 2009 were among Blacks and Hispanics.
  • Blacks make up greater than 50 percent of the new HIV diagnoses.
  • Roughly 67.9 percent of new HIV diagnoses among Heterosexual females are black females.
  • In Manhattan, Black females make up 62 percent of new HIV diagnoses. 42.8 percent of these females are between 20-39 years of age, and 64.2 percent contracted the virus through heterosexual sex.
  • In Brooklyn, Black females make up 75.5 percent of new HIV diagnoses. 41.9 percent of these females are between 20-39 years of age, and 70.6 percent contracted the virus through heterosexual sex.


  • Estimates indicate that new HIV infections in Philadelphia are occurring at a rate more than 5 times the national average.
  • More than half of new cases in Philadelphia are transmitted through heterosexual contact, a third among men who have sex with men and 13 percent from injection drug use.
  • About 2 percent of Philadelphia’s Black population is infected.
  • African Americans account for more than two-thirds of those living with HIV or AIDS.
  • African Americans account for more than two-thirds of the people living with HIV in Philadelphia, and of those nearly 30 percent are women.

Washington, DC

  • In Washington, DC, more than 4 percent of African-Americans in the city are known to have HIV, along with almost 2 percent of Latinos.
  • More than three-quarters—76 percent—of the HIV infected are Black, and 70 percent are men.
  • African-American men have an HIV infection rate of 6.5 percent.
  • African-American women have an HIV infection rate of 2.6 percent.
  • Black women represent more than a quarter of HIV cases in the District, and most (about 58 percent) were infected through heterosexual sex.

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