In the United States about 40,000 new HIV infections occur each year. More than 30 percent of these infections occur in women, and 60 percent occur in ethnic minorities. As of 2002 about 886,000 U.S. residents were living with HIV/AIDS, and about 500,000 people had died of the disease since the epidemic began, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Canada about 4,200 new HIV infections occur each year. Nearly 25 percent of these infections occur in women. In 2002 about 55,000 Canadians were living with HIV infection and about 18,000 people were living with full-blown AIDS.
The incidence of new cases of HIV infections and AIDS deaths has significantly decreased in Canada and the United States since 1995. This decrease is attributed to the availability of new drug treatments and public health programs that target people most at risk for infection. But while the overall rate of HIV infection seems to be on a downturn, certain populations appear to be at greater risk for the disease.
In the United States in 1987, Caucasians accounted for 60 percent of AIDS cases and blacks and Hispanics only 39 percent. But by 2000 the trend had reversed: 26 percent of new cases were diagnosed in Caucasians and 73 percent in blacks and Hispanics. Likewise the number of female AIDS patients in the United States has increased significantly in recent years, from 7 percent of all AIDS cases in 1985 to 30 percent in 2000. In the United States, African American and Hispanic women accounted for 82 percent of AIDS cases among women in 2000.