233000 Americans Don’t Know They Have HIV

A 2006 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 1.1 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, 233,000-or one in five of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS-are completely unaware that they are infected with the virus. 

It also shows that the population living with HIV is growing as more people become newly infected and as more patients survive through antiretroviral drugs.

These estimates also stated that 56,300 new HIV infections were reported in 2006.  Men made up three-fourth of Americans living with HIV infections, while 48 percent of the same population were men who have sex with men. 

Although male-to-male sexual contact was the leading cause of HIV infections in the United States, heterosexual sex accounted for 28 percent of HIV-infected people.  Meanwhile, injection drug use, which spreads the virus through contaminated needles, contributed 19 percent of the HIV cases.

African-Americans made up 46 percent of those infected with HIV, which translates to about 510,000 people.  About 35 percent of those with HIV were Caucasians and 18 percent were Hispanic, according to CDC. 

Meanwhile, African-American women were nearly 18 times more likely than their Caucasian counterparts to be infected with HIV, while black men were six times more likely than white men.  Hispanics were 2.6 times more likely than whites to be infected.

CDC spokesperson Richard Wolitski said that the data showed "the continued impact that the episdemic is having on American, and they really reinforce the severe toll that is experienced in multiple communities."

Wolitski added that as the number of people living with HIV grows, the cost of providing medical services to this population increases as well and becomes a burden on the U.S. health care system.

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