At the beginning of 2015, it was reported that 952,604 people in United States were living with HIV. According to the 2015 HIV Surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those living with the highest rates of HIV were African-Americans, who made up 44.3 percent of all cases, followed by Latinx Americans who represent 16.4 percent of those living with HIV, Asian-Americans at 5.5 percent, then Whites at 5.3 percent.
The highest age rate was for people between 25 and 29 (33.4 percent). People between 20 and 24 were at 31.2 percent, and those over 65 made up 18 percent (an increase of 59 percent from previous years).
Men accounted for 81 percent of all HIV cases in 2015 — 722,244 males compared to 230,360 women. For men, 70 percent of transmissions were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, 11 percent to injection drug use, 10 percent to heterosexual contact, and 7 percent to male-to-male sex and injection drug use. For women, 74 percent of cases were attributed to heterosexual sexual contact, 23 percent to injection drug use, and 2 percent to perinatal transmission.
Thanks to data collected by the CDC from city and state health records, we have learned the majority of the cities that have the highest HIV rates are in southerns states. In fact, the South attributed 13 out of the top 15 cities on our list. The state of Florida has the highest HIV rates across the country.
Even though new treatment methods are helping to combat HIV, the virus still looms over us. Rates continue to haunt our communities, despite constant efforts for preventative strategies.
The following 15 cities with the largest rates of HIV diagnoses are based on the CDC's 2015 HIV Surveillance report.
Click through to see where your city ranks.
#1) Miami, Fla.
The Miami area (Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach) accounted for 4,849 new HIV diagnoses in 2015, making it the top metro region in the nation for HIV rates.
103,696 Floridians are alreadly living with the virus. Of that number, over 51,000 people are living in the Miami-Dade region.
According to the CDC, if the current rates continue 1 in 54 Floridians will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.
#2) Baton Rouge, La.
Over 5,000 people were living with HIV in Baton Rouge at the end of 2015, that might not sound like much, but in a city with a population of only 228,000, that's one of the highest rates per capita.
The city saw 246 new HIV cases in 2015. Between 2010 and 2014, 52.5 percent of new transmission cases among men were due to male-to-male sexual contact and 4.7 percent were due to injection drug use. For women, 39.1 percent of the cases were attributed to heterosexual and 5 percent were due to injection drug use.
#3) New Orleans, La.
The Big Easy may be known for letting the good times roll, but it's also the city with the third highest rate of HIV in the country. There were 403 new HIV cases in New Orleans in 2015, adding to the 7,200 people already living with the virus in that area. More troubling, almost half of them (3,951) have been diagnosed as being HIV stage 3, suffering from AIDS-related illnesses.
#4) Jackson, Miss.
This city may only have 170,000 residents, but it's the largest metropolitan area in the state of Mississippi. As of 2015, 3,181 people in Jackson were already living with HIV before that year's 181 new diagnoses. Jackson, by far, makes up a vast majority of HIV-positive people in the state, which totals 4,420. Of those cases, the vast majority (3,165) are Black.
#5) Atlanta, Ga.
In 2015 there were 28,568 people living with HIV in Atlanta, and 1,472 of those cases were diagnosed within the previous year alone. AsPlus previously reported, HIV rates in the city mirror that of third world countries. And it’s not getting any better.
At the end of 2014, CDC’s HIV Surveillance report shows that 46,870 were living with HIV in the state of Georgia, and 24,951 of those cases had escalated to stage 3.
#6) Orlando, Fla.
In addition to the metro area of Miami, the Orlando area (Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford) adds to the 103,696 people living with HIV in the state. Adding the 614 new cases in 2015, that year there were 10,603 people living with HIV in the Orlando area. Florida itself accounted for 4,864 new diagnoses overall that same year.
#7) Louisville, Ky. and Jefferson County, Ind.
The metropolitan area that includes Louisville, Kentucky and Jefferson County, Indiana, added 313 new HIV cases in 2015 year. To put things in perspective, there were 337 new diagnoses in the entire state of Kentucky, which makes this region an epicenter of HIV transmission, mainly due to injection drug use like those that fueled Indiana's HIV outbreak. Louisville and Jefferson county have 3,258 people living with the virus, accounting for half of all people living with HIV in the state of Kentucky (which has a total HIV-positive population of 6,511).
#8) Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis experienced 311 new HIV diagnoses in 2015, which was nearly half of all the new cases in the state of Tennessee overall (that year there were 719 in the state). Memphis has 5,928 people living with HIV, while the state of Tennessee had 16,163 total cases as of 2015.
#9) Jacksonville, Fla.
A third Florida city, Jacksonville, came in as the ninth worst city for HIV cases. Jacksonville accounted for 329 new HIV cases in 2015, adding to the 6,455 people living with HIV in that area. While the number of new diagnoses is a slight decrease from 2014 — which saw 386 — there is still much to be done. As AIDSVu reports, the rate of Black males living with an HIV diagnoses in Jacksonville is 5.9 times higher than White males in the region.
#10) Baltimore, Md.
The cities of Baltimore, Columbia, and Towson, Maryland had 618 new HIV diagnoses in 2015, adding to the 16,325 people living with HIV in that region. If the rates continue as is, 1 in 49 people in the state of Maryland will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. There are already 32,002 people in the state of Maryland living with HIV, and 23,879 of them are Black (1,819 are Latinx, 210 are Asian, and 4,428 are White).
#11) Houston, Texas
Houston and its surrounding areas (The Woodlands and Sugar Land) had 1,470 new HIV diagnoses in 2014, increasing the number of people living with HIV in the region to 26,495. The city saw an increase of over a hundred from the year before — in 2014 there were 1,302 new diagnoses.
Texas itself has 77,896 residents living with HIV as of 2015. Of that number, 28,759 are Black, 24,339 are Latinx, 728 are Asian-American, and 21,137 are White.
#12) Washington, DC
The nation's capital comes in as the having the 12th highest rates of HIV. The area including Washington, D.C.; Arlington, Virginia; and Alexandria, West Virginia accounted for 1,308 new HIV cases in 2015. In total, there were 19,610 people living with the HIV in these regions. That same year, 548 cases escalated to HIV stage 3, adding to the more than 10,000 people living with AIDS-related illnesses in Washington, D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria.
#13) Columbia, S.C.
In Columbia, South Carolina, there were 2,931 people living with HIV as of 2015. That year, 171 new cases were added to the mix. As for the entire state of South Carolina, 15,942 residents were HIV-positive, and of that number 11,016 were Black.
#14) Las Vegas, Nev.
The neon city known for its casinos is also number 14 in the cities with the highest rates of HIV. In 2015, there were 441 new HIV cases in the Las Vegas areas (Las Vegas, Henderson, and Paradise), adding to the 6,991 people already living with HIV in these regions. This number reflects the majority of HIV-positive people residing in the state of Nevada (totals 8,405). A 2013 AIDSVu report noted that 13.9 percent of women living with HIV in Vegas had contracted the virus through injection drug use. As for men, the majority (76.7 percent) had contracted HIV through male-to-male sex. Unfortunately, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.
#15) Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.
Just as this list started with a Florida city, it ends there as well. The Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitian area accounts for 11,545 people living with HIV in the state. In 2015, 597 residents were newly diagnosed with HIV and 295 cases had already escalated to HIV stage 3 before diagnosis. By the end of 2014, there were 6,633 cases of HIV stage 3 throughout the particular region. Not only does Florida need to do a better job with HIV prevention and testing, it also needs to increase the speed in which people get treated, so they can cut down on the number of simultaneous HIV and AIDS diagnoses.