New Estimations Bring HIV/AIDS Estimates to 1.1 Million

Better counting has led scientists to believe that the 39,400 new incidents of HIV/AIDS estimated in 2006 are actually closer to 56,000 new infections, and the total number of Americans infected with the AIDS virus is nearly 1.1 million. 

  • Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, it has been difficult to truly estimate the number of new cases each year due to the fact that symptoms may not appear until many years after the original infection. For this study, researchers compared results with the number of HIV incidences for 1977-2006 based on HIV diagnoses from 40 different states and the number of AIDS diagnoses from all 50 states. The researchers of this particular study estimate that these reports have drastically under-estimated the number of new HIV/AIDS incidents in America.

    The study by the CDC estimated new incident numbers based on three parameters:

    “The probability that an individual is diagnosed with AIDS in that year, given that he or she was AIDS-free at the beginning of the year

    The HIV testing rate by year in infected individuals prior to AIDS diagnosis

    3-   The number of HIV infections by year”

    Using these parameters, the estimated number of new infections in 2006 rose from 39,400 to 56,300. That is equivalent to 22 new HIV cases for every 100,000 Americans.

    The study also found that of the 1.1 million infected individuals, 48% were among men who engage in sex with other men, and 27.6% were among individuals behaving in “high risk heterosexual contact,” (e.g., injection drug use). Black individuals only make up 12% of the overall populations, but they make up 46% of those infected with HIV/AIDS while whites made up 35% and the Hispanic population made up only 17%. (
    1), (2)


1 Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 300, No. 5, August 6, 2008, pp. 520-529.

2 HIV Prevalence Estimates – United States, 2006, MMWR Weekly Report, 57 (39); October 3, 2008, pp. 1073-1076

©  Real Alternatives -, all rights reserved 2010 - present