University of California, San Francisco Logo

University of California, San Francisco | About UCSF | Search UCSF | UCSF Medical Center

Home > Countries & Regions > North America
Updated June 2011
Regional Overview
transparent image
Epidemiology and Trends
Health and Development Profiles
Comprehensive Indicator Report
Country Profiles
Canada
United States
HIV/AIDS in North America
Population, 2013352,000,000
People living with HIV/AIDS, 20121,300,000
Women (aged 15+) with HIV/AIDS, 2012260,000
Children with HIV/AIDS, 20121,900
Adult HIV prevalence (%), 20120.5
AIDS deaths, 201220,000
nd = No data
Source: Population Reference Bureau & UNAIDS
North America map
View detailed map
View full indicator report

These pages will be updated regularly. To suggest a document for inclusion on this page, please send an email to hivinsite@ucsf.edu.

Regional Overview

Abstracted from the 2010 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, UNAIDS, November 2010..

Epidemiology and Trends

As in Western and Central Europe, the total number of people living with HIV in North America continues to grow, reaching 1.5 million [1.2-2.0 million] in 2009. Unprotected sex between men continues to dominate patterns of HIV transmission, although injecting drug use and unprotected paid sex also feature. This epidemic pattern means that men outnumber women among people living with HIV. In 2009, women comprised about 26% of the people living with HIV in North America. There is strong evidence of resurgent HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men. National surveillance data also show significant increases in new HIV diagnoses between 2000 and 2005 among men who have sex with men. In the United States of America, new HIV infections attributed to unprotected sex between men increased by more than 50% from 1991-1993 to 2003-2006. Similar trends have been reported in Canada. Increases in higher-risk sexual behaviour are associated with this trend.

The HIV epidemics are disproportionately concentrated in racial and ethnic minorities in some countries. In the United States of America, for example, African-Americans constitute 12% of the population but accounted for 45% of the people newly infected with HIV in 2006. African-American males are 6.5 times and African-American females 19 times more likely to acquire HIV compared with their Caucasian counterparts. In Canada in the mid-2000s, aboriginal people comprised 3.8% of the population but accounted for 8% of the cumulative people living with HIV and 13% of the people newly infected annually.

The epidemic is declining among people who inject drugs in North America. Fewer than 10,000 people who inject drugs contracted HIV in 2006 in the United States of America, for example, one third as many as in 1984-1986. There are also flashpoints along the border between Mexico and the United States of America where intersecting networks of drug use and paid sex appear to be driving the spread of HIV. Studies have found an HIV prevalence of 12% among female sex workers who inject drugs in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana and 3% among other people who inject drugs in Tijuana. These localized epidemics have considerable potential for growth. In a large study among pregnant women in Tijuana, for example, the HIV prevalence was 1%, and among those who used drugs it was 6%.

Health and Development Profiles
AIDS Epidemic Update Regional Summary - North America, Western and Central Europe
UNAIDS, April 16, 2008. [PDF, 228K] Also in Spanish, French, and Russian.
Fact Sheet: AIDS Epidemic in North America, Western and Central Europe
UNAIDS, December 2006. [PDF, 43K] Also in Spanish, French, and Russian.