Facts and figures

How H.I.V. affects women in the United States

Actor Charlie Sheen waits on the set of the Today Show before formally announcing that he is H.I.V. positive in an interview with Matt Lauer on November 17, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, TV and movie star Charlie Sheen appeared on NBC’s Today show and dropped a bombshell about his personal life. “I am in fact H.I.V.-positive,” the 50-year-old actor told Matt Lauer in the wake of numerous media reports suggesting that a Hollywood mega-star had been covering up his H.I.V.-positive status. Sheen told Lauer he’d paid millions of dollars in hush money to keep the news of his diagnosis, which he said happened about four years ago, out of the press. When Lauer pressed Sheen on the possibility that he’d had unprotected sex with unknowing women and infected them, as some of the tabloid media reports suggested, Sheen insisted that such a scenario was “impossible.”

The news thrust the topic of H.I.V. back into the spotlight — particularly its impact on women in the U.S. — so here’s taking a look at some of the facts and figures about H.I.V. as they pertain to women. As you can see from the graphic below, the heterosexual African-American women sub-population, as the CDC calls it, far and away represented the highest number of new H.I.V. cases in 2010.



Below are a three more key statistics taken from the CDC (primarily from data culled between 2010 and 2012) that show the disease’s effect on American women.

1. New H.I.V. infections among women are primarily attributed to heterosexual contact (84 percent in 2010) or injection drug use (16 percent in 2010).

2. Women accounted for 20 percent of estimated new H.I.V. infections in 2010 and 23 percent of those living with H.I.V. infection in 2011.

3. The 9,500 new infections among women in 2010 reflect a significant 21 percent decrease from the 12,000 new infections that occurred among this group in 2008.

As The Associated Press notes, Sheen has been married three times, most recently to actress Denise Richards, from 2002-2006, and real estate agent Brooke Mueller from 2008 to 2011. He and Mueller have two children. In an email to the A.P., Steve Honig, a spokesperson for Mueller, said, “Brooke has been inundated with calls from friends and family. To put their minds at ease, Brooke can confirm that she and the boys are not H.I.V.-positive.”

Get the complete H.I.V. statistics at the CDC and read the full story at The Associated Press.

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