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Aids Hiv

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HIV and AIDS in the United States

Since 1981 when the first case of AIDS was diagnosed 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with HIV in the United States, including more than 500,000 who have already died. According to the American International AIDS Foundation there are 40,000 new HIV infections each year in the U.S. Of the 1 million U.S. residents now living with HIV, 25% are unaware of their infection. This horrible disease affects people of all ages, genders, and races, religions and nationalities.

In the past minorities have been disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS now however minorities represent 71% of new AIDS cases in the U.S. Leading this trend African Americans now have the highest AIDS case rate, followed by Latinos, American Indian/Alaska. The death toll for minorities due to AIDS is also very high. African Americans accounted for 55% of deaths in 2002, making it the third leading cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 25 and 34. Latinos accounted for 13% of deaths due to AIDS making it the 6th leading cause of death for Latinos. Treatment for minorities is also low, survival rates for African Americans after and AIDS diagnosis is far less than any other group. Along with this large ethnic divide there is a dramatic gender gap. Women now account for the majority of new AIDS cases. HIV was the #1 cause of death for African American women ages 24-34 in 2001 and make up 67% of new AIDS cases.

Many might think that these new trends are just a coincidence but the truth is that they are not. The fact that minorities are now being infected at such a rapid rate can be traced back to economics. The majority of people living in poverty in the United States are minorities. Many minorities have limited resources and do not have to ability to seek the right kind of treatment. While many wealthy whites receive the latest and best healthcare treatments minorities who do not have health insurance cannot afford to do the same. Another major factor is education. The lack of proper sex education in many minority schools plays a huge role in the number of cases of HIV/AIDS. If people do not know how to prevent the spreading of this epidemic the problem will only worsen.

If there is to be any kind of real change it will be in the form of education. If a uniform sex education is implemented in the U.S. schools then perhaps there can be some real change. Students need to be taught safe sex practices to stop the spreading of



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