Interactive: The Spread of HIV in Black America

by and Sam Bailey

The late 1980s marked a turning point in the history of AIDS in the United States. For much of the epidemic's early history, the disease hit whites harder than any other race or ethnic group. By the turn of the decade, though, the number of blacks becoming infected with HIV outnumbered the number of whites by more than two-to-one.

This interactive chart illustrates that shift, one fueled by widespread drug use, a culture of homophobia, and a lack of leadership on the issue, among other factors. The data represents a back calculation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of new HIV infections from 1977 through 2006 [PDF]. CDC figures for 2009 are drawn from a separate methodology of HIV infections.

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Playing20091977-1979

1977-1979

Source: CDC. Figures through 2006 represent a back-calculation released by the CDC, while data for 2009 are based on a separate methodology for HIV incidence.
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