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Facts about STDs and Minority Women (1-11-99)

  • Women are twice as likely as men to become infected with gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B and chancroid after a single exposure. 1

  • The efficiency of male-to-female HIV transmission is about four times higher than female-to-male.2

  • In 1995, heterosexual contact emerged as the leading cause of AIDS in American women (ages 15 to 44).3

  • In 1996, 6 percent of men and 40 percent of women with AIDS were infected via heterosexual transmission.4

  • The rate of gonorrhea is substantially higher among Blacks and Hispanics than among Whites.5

  • AIDS incidence rates for Blacks and Hispanics are 6 and 3 times higher, respectively, than for Whites.6

  • In 1996, AIDS incidence rates for Black and Hispanic women were 17 and 6 times higher than for White women (Blacks, 61.7 cases per 100,000 people; Hispanics, 22.7; Whites 3.5).7

  • The risk of contracting HIV upon exposure is 3 to 50 times greater for individuals with sexually transmitted disease than for uninfected individuals.8


1 Harlan S, Kost K, Forrest JD. Preventing pregnancy, protecting health: a new look at birth control choices in the United States. New York: the Alan Guttmacher Institute; 1991

2 Aral SO. Heterosexual transmission of HIV: the role of other sexually transmitted infections and behavior in its epidemiology, prevention and control. Annual Review of Public Health 1993;14:451-467.

3 Wortley PM, Fleming PL. AIDS in women in the United States. Journal of the American Medical Association 1997;278:911-916.

4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US). HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. 1996;8(2).

5 Donovan P. Testing positive: sexually transmitted disease and the public health response. New York: Alan Guttmacher Institute;1993.

6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US). HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. 1994:6(2).

7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US). Focus on women and HIV. HIV/AIDS Prevention 1997;8:1-2. Also: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US). HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report. 1996;8(2)

8 St. Louis ME, Wasserheit JN, Gayle HD. Editorial: Janus considers the HIV pandemicharnessing recent advances to enhance AIDS prevention. American Journal of Public Health 1997;87:10-12.

(Facts and footnotes are from Shain RN, Piper JM, Newton ER; Perdue ST; Ramos R, Champion JD, Guerra FA. Behavioral intervention to prevent sexually transmitted disease among minority women: results of a controlled randomized trial. New England Journal of Medicine, Jan. 14, 1999.)

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Contact: Will Sansom