Women and HIV in the United States

PLoS One. 2017 Feb 16;12(2):e0172367. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0172367. eCollection 2017.


Background: The demographic and geographic characteristics of the HIV epidemic in the US has changed substantially since the disease emerged, with women in the South experiencing a particularly high HIV incidence. In this study, we identified and described counties in the US in which the prevalence of HIV is particularly high in women compared to men.

Methods: Using data from AIDSVu, a public dataset of HIV cases in the US in 2012, we categorized counties by their decile of the ratio of female to male HIV prevalence. The demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of counties in the highest decile were compared to those of counties in the lower deciles.

Results: Most of the counties in the highest decile were located in the Deep South. These counties had a lower median income, higher percentage of people in poverty, and lower percentage of people with a high school education. Additionally, people with HIV in these counties were more likely to be non-Hispanic black.

Conclusions: Counties with the highest ratios of female-to-male HIV prevalence are concentrated in the Southern US, and residents of these counties tend to be of lower socioeconomic status. Identifying and describing these counties is important for developing public health interventions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV-1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult