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While the number of newly diagnosed cases of AIDS among children younger than 13 in the United States has fallen markedly, numbers of cases among young adult males are rising.

Importance

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) weakens the body’s immune system. People with HIV are diagnosed with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) when their white blood cell count falls below a certain threshold, or when they contract an AIDS indicator illness, such as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.[1]

Worldwide, the majority of new infections of HIV develop during labor and delivery, or pregnancy. HIV progresses rapidly in the first few months of an infant’s life and, as of 2008, only 15 percent of infants diagnosed with HIV around the world received early testing. However, there are much higher survival rates for infants who are treated with antiretroviral therapy immediately after diagnosis of HIV, and many do not develop AIDS until much later in life.[2] Children with HIV/AIDS are more likely to suffer from more severe cases of common childhood infections, causing symptoms such as diarrhea, fungal infections, and seizures.[3]

Most children under the age of 13 with HIV acquire the virus from their mothers before or during birth, or contract it while breastfeeding.[4] However, due to medical advances in the mid-1990s, the number of children in the United States who contract the disease during pregnancy and childbirth has been greatly reduced.[5] Among youth, HIV is most commonly transmitted through risky sexual behavior and use of injected drugs.[6] Many youth with HIV do not know they are infected; early identification allows treatment to begin sooner, which can lead to better health outcomes and improved rates of survival. Also, people who know they are infected with HIV are much less likely to have unprotected sex than those who do not.[7]Experimental studies have found that male circumcision can reduce the incidence of HIV spread through intercourse. Public health professionals in developing countries are beginning to promote this practice in order to reduce the incidence of HIV.[8]

Trends

42_fig1Nationwide, the number of children (under age 13) newly-diagnosed with AIDS rose steadily between 1985 and 1995, from 131 to 745. Since 1995, there has been an equally marked decline, from 745, to fewer than 10 cases in 2013. (Figure 1)

The number of youth ages 13 to 19 newly-diagnosed with AIDS increased from 173 in 1990 to 534 in 2007, but has since decreased slightly, to 406 in 2013. The greatest increase was among young adults 20 to 24 years old. Numbers of new AIDS cases in this age group increased from 1,269 in 1999, to 1,996 in 2013.  (Figure 1)

Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin[9]

42_fig2Although newly-diagnosed cases for young black children under age 13 have fallen dramatically from their peak of 483 in 1995, they are still much more likely than white children to be diagnosed with AIDS. In 2013, black children accounted for more than half of newly-diagnosed AIDS cases in this age group, while there were no white children diagnosed with AIDS in 2013.  (Figure 2, Appendix 1)

42_fig3Racial/ethnic disparities are also very evident for adolescents and young adults. In 2013, among the 406 new cases of AIDS among adolescents, 309 (or three-fourths of new cases) were among black adolescents. There were 63 new cases among Hispanic adolescents (one-seventh of new cases), and among white adolescents there were 23 new cases (one-eighteenth of new cases). Disparities were slightly smaller among young adults, with black young adults accounting for 69 percent of new cases (1,307 cases), and whites for 13 percent (244 cases). Eighteen percent of new cases were Hispanic (349 cases). (Figure 3)

Differences by Gender

42_fig4Among adolescents and young adults, males are more likely than females to develop AIDS, and the gender gap is growing wider. New cases of AIDS among adolescent females rose, through the mid-1990s, at the same pace as cases among males, but numbers have remained relatively steady since then, fluctuating between 150 and 220 per year; there were 195 cases in 2009 (the most recent data available). New cases of AIDS among adolescent males reached a peak in 1995, at 223, then declined through 1999, falling below the numbers of new cases among females of the same age (131 versus 167 cases). Since then, however, while numbers of new cases for females have remained steady, new cases for males have increased sharply, reaching a new high of 337 in 2008 (the most recent year these data are available). (Figure 4)

Among young adult females, the number of new cases has fallen steadily since 1995, from 773 to 391 per year, between 1995 and 2009. Among males of the same age, numbers of new cases fell between 1995 and 1998, from 1,310 to 771. However, that positive trend was not maintained; from 2001 to 2009, new cases among young adult males increased from 790 to 1,719. (Appendix 1)

State and Local Estimates

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the NCHHSTP Atlas,

which includes state-level data on AIDS diagnoses, AIDS deaths, persons living with AIDS, HIV diagnoses and HIV deaths, broken out by sex and race, for 13- to 24-year-olds, for 2000 through 2013.

International Estimates

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS has 2014 estimates by country.

National Goals

Through its Healthy People 2020 initiative, the federal government has set several goals related to children and adolescents with AIDS. There are general goals to reduce perinatal transmission of AIDS, and the number of HIV-positive adolescents. There is also a goal to reduce the number of HIV/AIDS cases among adolescents and adults, including goals within high-risk subgroups, but there are not specific goals for adolescents.

More information is available here.

What Works to Make Progress on This Indicator

See Child Trends’ LINKS database (“Lifecourse Interventions to Nurture Kids Successfully”), for reviews of many rigorously evaluated programs, including the following which have been shown to be effective:

Also see:

Related Indicators

Definition

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that is passed among people through bodily fluids such as blood or breast milk. HIV causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), characterized by a compromised immune system.[10]

Cases reported here are for those children and adolescents newly diagnosed with AIDS, and do not include cases of HIV alone.

Data Sources

Data for 2009-2013: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015) HIV surveillance report, 2013. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports, 25: available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/surveillance/2013/surveillance_Report_vol_25.html.

All data for 2008, and race data over age 13 2010-2012: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013) HIV surveillance report, 2011. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports, 23: available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/surveillance/2011/surveillance_Report_vol_23.html.

Data for 2007: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012) HIV surveillance report, 2010. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports, 22: available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2010report/index.htm.

Data for 2006 and race and sex data over age 13 2006-2009: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS among adolescents and young adults in the United States and 5 U.S. dependent areas, 2006–2009. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 17(2): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2009supp_vol17no2/index.htm.

Data for 2005-2006: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010) HIV surveillance report, 2008. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports; 20: available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2008report/index.htm.

Data for 2003-2004 and race and sex data for over 13 2003-2007:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and dependent areas, by race/ethnicity, 2003-2007. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 14(2): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2009supp_vol14no2/

Data for 2002:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2008) Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and dependent areas, by race/ethnicity, 2002–2006. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 13(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reports/2008supp_vol13no1/.

Gender data for 2000-2001:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2007). Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States, by race/ethnicity, 2000-2004. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 12(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2006supp_vol12no1/

Data for 1998-1999:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2005). Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States, by race/ethnicity, 1998-2002. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 10(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2006supp_vol12no1/

Data for 1994-1997: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). AIDS cases in adolescents and adults, by age — United States, 1994–2000, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 9(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2003supp_vol9no1/

Data for 1985: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). Health, United States, 2004 [Electronic Version] from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus04.pdf

Raw Data Source

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV/AIDS Surveillance

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reports/index.htm

 

Appendix 1 – Number of Children, Adolescents, and  Young Adults Newly Diagnosed with AIDS, Selected Years, 1985-2011

1985 1990 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Children
Under 13*
131 725 745 654 442 367 190 124 121 106 73 55 55 42 36 37 14 24  15
Race/ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic 26 157 117 96 62 59 30 30 13 14 12 8 4 3 4 6 1 5  1
Black, non-Hispanic 87 390 483 431 288 234 171 121 85 72 49 34 40 30 27 24 7 14  12
Hispanic 18 169 135 123 85 71 49 30 23 23 10 9 8 7 4 2 4 5  2
American Indian or Alaska Native 5 2 3 2 1 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0  0
Asian or Pacific Islander 4 5 1 3 2 2 3 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1  0
Adolescents
13-19*
377 354 283 298 310 346 392 374 404 507 486 534 536 538 583 520 504 528  559
Gender
Male 27 106 223 204 181 141 131 142 179 197 249 238 262 296 325 377 353
Female 5 67 157 173 173 142 167 168 167 195 209 169 190 194 215 172 195  –
Race/ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic 37 40 42 46 55 37 50 45 44 56 58 39 52  58
Black, non-Hispanic 178 183 223 229 249 253 291 343 330 350 376 372 410  377
Hispanic 66 75 80 74 72 89 66 97 99 121 99 115 109  110
American Indian or Alaska Native 4 4 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 2 1  2
Asian or Pacific Islander 2 3 2 2 4 4 1 1 4 3 1 5 4  3
1985 1990 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Young
Adults 20-24*
1,637 2,083 1,765 1,402 1,355 1,269 1,370 1,307 1,386 1,577 1,635 1,747 1,669 1,861 1,776 1,975 2,072  2,425
Gender
Male 1,310 1,050 837 771 771 772 1,310 878 1,001 1,128 1,205 1,205 1,459 1,468 1,719  –
Female 773 715 565 584 494 551 773 508 492 503 491 454 449 425 391  –
Race/ethnicity
White, non-Hispanic 303 247 227 194 241 236 269 265 248 295 281 319 334  324
Black, non-Hispanic 745 722 766 797 822 948 960 971 939 1,083 1,143 1,298 1,380  1,560
Hispanic 291 289 309 333 341 370 380 437 408 481 412 431 483  429
American Indian or Alaska Native 2 9 12 6 10 9 7 5 8 6 7 9 12  9
Asian or Pacific Islander 14 12 9 8 14 20 15 18 23 18 19 20 33  27
* Age at diagnosis.”-”
data not available.Sources:Data for 1985-1995, 2000-2001: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). Health, United States, 2004 [Electronic Version] from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus04.pdf . Data for 1994-1997: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). AIDS cases in adolescents and adults, by age — United States, 1994–2000, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 9(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2003supp_vol9no1/    Data for 1996-1997: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Health, United States, 2001 [Electronic Version] from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus01.pdf.  Data for 1998-1999:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2005). Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States, by race/ethnicity, 1998-2002. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 10(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2006supp_vol12no1/. Data for 1998-1999: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2002). Health, United States, 2002 [Electronic Version] from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus02.pdf.  Gender data for 2000-2001:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2007). Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States, by race/ethnicity, 2000-2004. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 12(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2006supp_vol12no1/.  Data for 2002:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2008) Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and dependent areas, by race/ethnicity, 2002–2006. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 13(1): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reports/2008supp_vol13no1/. Data for 2003-2004 and race and sex data for over 13 2003-2007:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Cases of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and dependent areas, by race/ethnicity, 2003-2007. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 14(2): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2009supp_vol14no2/. Data for 2005-2006: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010) HIV surveillance report, 2008. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports; 20: available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2008report/index.htm.  Data for 2006 and race and sex data over age 13 2006-2009: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012). Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS among adolescents and young adults in the United States and 5 U.S. dependent areas, 2006–2009. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Supplemental Report; 17(2): available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2009supp_vol17no2/index.htm. Data for 2007: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2012) HIV surveillance report, 2010. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports,  22: available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2010report/index.htm.  Data for 2008-2011: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013) HIV surveillance report, 2011. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports, 23: available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/surveillance/2011/surveillance_Report_vol_23.html.

Endnotes


[1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fact Sheet “What is AIDS? What Causes AIDS?” available online athttp://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/faq/faq2.htm

[2]World Health Organization. (2010). Diagnosis of HIV Infection in Infants and Children: WHO Recommendations. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/hiv/pub/paediatric/diagnosis/en/

[4]Center for Disease Control: HIV/AIDS and Pregnancy:http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/perinatal/index.htm.

[5] AIDSinfo (2015) Preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV during childbirth. Available at https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/education-materials/fact-sheets/24/70/preventing-mother-to-child-transmission-of-hiv-during-childbirth 

Almario DA, McCormick MC, Stoto MA, (Eds.). (1999) Reducing the Odds: Preventing Perinatal Transmission of HIV in the United States. Washington: National Academy Press.http://www.nap.edu/books/0309062861/html/index.html.

[6]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2008). HIV/AIDS among youth. CDC HIV/AIDS Fact Sheet. Retrieved fromwww.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/PDF/youth.pdf

[7] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). HIV testing among adolescents. Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/pdf/hivtesting_adolescents.pdf

[8]Rennie, S., Perry, B., Corneli, A., Chilungo, A., & Umar, E. (2015). Perceptions of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision among Circumcising and Non-circumcising Communities in Malawi. Global Public Health, 10(5-6), 679-691.

[9]Estimates for whites, blacks, American Indian/Alaskan Native and Asian/Pacific Islanders do not include Hispanics. Hispanics may be any race.

[10]National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2010). The evidence that HIV causes AIDS. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/HIVAIDS/Understanding/howHIVCausesAIDS/Pages/HIVcausesAIDS.aspx

Suggested Citation:

Child Trends Databank. (2015). Children and youth with AIDS. Available at: https://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=children-and-youth-with-aids

Last updated: December 2015

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