HIV AIDS Facts World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. You say — I don’t know anyone with HIV/AIDS. What does this have to do with human resources?

Well, a lot.

There are approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. It is estimated that almost one-fifth (18.1 %) of those people don’t know they are infected.

Testing is so easy. You should get tested. That one person with HIV who doesn’t know about it? Could be you.

In 2011, more than 20% of people diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. were women. The vast majority of newly diagnosed HIV-positive women contracted the virus through heterosexual sex.

Even in consensual relationships where sex isn’t forced, women still face some risk from their partners. If you believe in protecting women, always use a condom. Engage is safe sex acts. And encourage your female colleagues to get tested.

By race, blacks/African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV. Blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2010. They also accounted for 44% of people living with HIV infection in 2009. Unless the course of the epidemic changes, at some point in their lifetime, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection.

Some people think that HIV/AIDS is a gay thing. There is a history of African American AIDS activism that you probably don’t know about. Google it. You’ll learn a lot.

Hispanics/Latinos are also disproportionately affected by HIV. Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the population but accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 20102. Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 19% of people living with HIV infection in 20091. In 2010, the rate of new HIV infections for Latino males was 2.9 times that for white males, and the rate of new infections for Latinas was 4.2 times that for white females.

Whenever we talk about Latinos in human resources, we hyperfocus on immigration. Maybe we should also talk about healthcare issues?

The top 10 states for new HIV/AIDS diagnoses are California, Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Many of those states do have high levels of immigration (international and state-to-state) so maybe we should go beyond the rhetoric of “protecting our border” and think about meeting the needs of our residents — both legal and undocumented.

CDC estimates that 1,144,500 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection in the United States, including 180,900 (15.8%) who are unaware of their infection.

Children are still impacted by HIV/AIDS. This is criminal to me. And while treatments are improving, there is no cure.

You probably work with someone who has HIV/AIDS and you don’t even know it.

In most instances, your colleague’s privacy is protected. There is no compliance or reporting requirement for professional employees who have HIV/AIDS.  Your best friend at work may be HIV+ and you might not even know it. And if you did know it, so what?

What you should know is that HIV/AIDS still impacts people around the world. 

Time and money are spent on this important issue. AIDS experts were killed on the plane that was shot down by Ukranian/Russian separatists (or the Russian government, depending on who you ask). As human resources professionals, we sit at the center of many important issues. HIV/AIDS is still something we should think about.


Statistics provided by CDC, AMFAR and AIDS.Gov.