According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 1.2 million Americans live with HIV and one in eight do not know they are infected.
The likelihood that you may contract HIV in the U.S. greatly varies according to where you live. However, the states with the highest HIV rates are in the South. While it is obvious that urban areas with high prevalence rates and dense populations increase the risk, there are also particular reasons that explain the wide disparity between states in the United States.
Washington, District of Columbia, shockingly has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the U.S. and rates higher than West Africa for HIV diagnoses. (119.8 diagnoses per 100,000 people.).
What is HIV/AIDS?
An HIV virus is a virus that destroys cells that aid in the body’s defence against infections, increasing a person’s vulnerability to various illnesses and infections.
HIV can cause AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). If it isn’t treated
There is no treatment for HIV and no way to eradicate it from the body. Once you test positive for HIV, there is no cure.
How is HIV spread or transmitted?
- Having vaginal or anal sex without using a condom
- Sharing the same sex’s items or toys
- Transmission from the pregnant mother to the baby
- Sharing drug needles
- Being exposed to contaminated blood.
How is HIV not transmitted?
You can’t get HIV by
- Hugging and kissing.
- Giving a handshake to an HIV-positive person or making other typical social contacts.
- Being close to an HIV-positive person
- Sharing household things like cutlery, plates, or bedding
- HIV cannot be spread by spitting, sneezing, or coughing.
- An estimated 1.2 million Americans are HIV-positive. 13% of them require testing because they are unaware of it.
- The 13 states that rejected Medicaid expansion are responsible for 42% of all new infections, according to the CDC. Florida, Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina are where these infections are most prevalent.
- The number of HIV infections recorded in the US in 2019 was estimated at 34,800.
- Following a period of relative stability, there was an 8% reduction in the number of HIV infections, from 37,800 in 2015 to 34,800 in 2019.
- African Americans have the highest HIV infection rate compared to other races.
- The distribution of HIV diagnoses varies between states and regions. The South continues to have the highest rate of new diagnoses.
These numbers are based on data from the CDC’s HIV Surveillance Report.
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10. North Carolina -15.5
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 15.5
The persistence of high HIV rates in North Carolina is because of poverty, rural geography, a lack of affordable healthcare, and social stigma. Researchers believe that the North’s status as a “Bible Belt” contributes to the stigma, which can lead some individuals with diagnoses to decide against seeking treatment out of concern of being rejected by the religious community.
9. South Carolina -16.1
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 16.1
South Carolina experiences the same issues as the North, making it one of the states with the highest HIV rates. It is a “Bible Belt” state, just like Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Mississippi, all of these states in the United States.
For fear of being rejected by the religious community, some people in these states who have been diagnosed choose not to seek treatment.
8. Texas – 16.9
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 16.9
Texas has the eighth-highest percentage of Americans living with HIV. According to the CDC report, African Americans make up the majority of HIV-positive people in Texas, followed by Hispanics/Latinos.
A report by Texas.gov indicates that the leading cause of HIV transmission in Texas is drug users who inject themselves and share needles and sexual contact making it one of the states that have high HIV rates in the U.S.
7. Maryland – 18
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 18
GetTested.com claims that Baltimore’s rising HIV infection rates are a result of a lack of education. It is reported that there were 773 people aged 13+ diagnosed with HIV in 2021. HIV is a lifelong infection that, if untreated, can result in AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
6. Mississippi – 18.6
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 18.6
The main causes of Mississippi’s stubbornly high HIV rates include unprotected sexual contact and blood-to-blood transmission, such as sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment used to prepare illicit drugs for injection.
Mendenhall city, Mississippi, has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the state.
5. Nevada- 19.7
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 19.7
In Nevada, young people between the ages of 13 and 24 account for 16% of new HIV diagnoses, while the majority (40%) of new diagnoses are people between the ages of 25 and 34.
The majority of new HIV diagnoses are in Clark County and the second most populous county, Washoe County which has the second-highest rate of new HIV diagnoses.
4. Louisiana – 23
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 23
Louisiana’s conservative laws, widespread poverty, and cultural stigmas that create shame provide the ideal environment for the rapid spread of HIV. People who are positive yet undiagnosed are also one of the main causes of HIV spread.
Only 82% of HIV-positive individuals receive a diagnosis. Fewer receive medical attention, fewer remain under care, and even fewer make it to the critical stage of viral suppression.
3. Florida – 23.9
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 23.9
The main reasons for Florida’s high rates of HIV and AIDS include stigma, poverty, problems with immigration, and access to health care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(C.D.C) estimate that over 115,000 People in Florida have HIV. That represents more than 12% of all cases in the US.
2. Georgia – 25.9
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 25.9
The causes of HIV in Georgia are less related to sexual habits and more related to poverty, lack of insurance, and stigma. Young, black men who have sex with other men are the main group affected by the high rates of HIV/AIDS. In fact, between the ages of 35 and 44, AIDS is the main cause of death for black men in Georgia.
1. Washington, District of Columbia.- 41.2
Diagnoses of AIDS per 100,000 people: 41.2
With an epidemic rate higher than that of West Africa or comparable to other developing countries, Washington, D.C. is shockingly one of the states with the highest HIV rates in the United States (U.S.) that has been hard hit by HIV. Nearly 3% of the people in D.C. are HIV positive. It is both the capital city of the U.S. and the HIV capital of the U.S.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
Kaiser Family Foundation: