BY HIV Plus Editors
December 15 2009 1:00 AM ET
Early in the epidemic, HIV infection and AIDS were diagnosed among relatively few women and female adolescents, although many women were infected with HIV through injection-drug use but their infections were not diagnosed. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV diagnoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women of color are especially affected by HIV infection and AIDS. In 2004 (the most recent year for which data are available), HIV infection was
> the leading cause of death for black women, including African-American women, between the ages of 25 and 34 years;
> the third leading cause of death for black women ages 35 to 44 years;
> the fourth leading cause of death for black women ages 45 to 54 years; and
> the fourth leading cause of death for Hispanic women ages 35 to 44 years.
In that same year HIV infection was the fifth leading cause of death among all women ages 35 to 44 years and the sixth leading cause of death among all women ages 25 to 34 years. The only diseases causing more deaths of women, according to the CDC, were cancer and heart disease.