Epidemiological Profile of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota

The Scope of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota

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Annual HIV/AIDS Surveillance Summaries
Annual HIV/AIDS surveillance summaries for Minnesota are available on the MDH website.

National Perspective

Compared with the rest of the nation, Minnesota is considered to be a low to moderate HIV/AIDS incidence state. In 2011, state-specific HIV infection rates ranged from 2.3 per 100,000 persons in Vermont to 36.6 per 100,000 persons in the Louisiana. Minnesota had the 17th lowest HIV infection rate (7.2 AIDS cases reported per 100,000 persons) in the country (not including dependent areas). Compared to surrounding states (IA, ND, SD, & WI), Minnesota’s HIV infection rate was the highest, followed by Wisconsin at 5.7 per 100,000.

Cumulative Cases

As of December 31, 2013, a cumulative total of 10,409 (1) cases of HIV infection have been reported among Minnesota residents. This includes 6,316 AIDS cases and 4,093 HIV, non-AIDS cases. Of all these HIV/AIDS cases, 3,558 are known to be deceased through correspondence with the reporting source, other health departments, reviews of death certificates and obituaries, active surveillance, and matches with the National Death Index and Social Security Death Master File.

Overview of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota      

An estimated 7,723 persons with HIV/AIDS are assumed to be living in Minnesota as of December 31, 2013. This number includes persons whose most recently reported state of residence was Minnesota, regardless of residence at time of diagnosis. Of the 7,723 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota 4,095 (53%) are living with HIV infection (non-AIDS) and 3,628 (47%) are living with AIDS.

The majority of people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota are male (76%), white (51%), have a mode of exposure of MSM or joint risk of MSM/IDU (56%), over the age of 45 years (56%), and reside in the eleven-county TGA of the metropolitan area surrounding the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul (87%).


Historically, about 90% of new HIV infections diagnosed in Minnesota have occurred in the Minneapolis-St. Paul TGA. Although HIV infection is more common in communities with higher population densities and greater poverty, there are people living with HIV or AIDS in 95% of counties in Minnesota, however, 87% of those infected live in the TGA.

map of minnesota by county

There are also differences in the continuum of care by geography. Persons living with HIV in greater Minnesota are virally suppressed at a lower rate than those living in the 11-county metro area (53% vs 62%).

continuum of care by residence


It is important to note that the number of cases among a population does not represent the disparities that exist in Minnesota.Disparities in health are often measured using race as the distinguishing factor, and throughout this document disparities in HIV and AIDS rates are presented by race/ethnicity. However, there is no biological reason for these disparities and race/ethnicity is used instead of income or education since those data are not available through the HIV Surveillance System.

Race is often used as a factor in reporting health disparities because it is believed that it can be a representation of environmental variations, such as income, education, drug use and others that can greatly influence one’s health status (2).


Please see the General Demographics section for more information.

In Minnesota, as well as the TGA, the epidemic affects populations of color disproportionately. According to the 2010 Census, Whites make up about 85 percent of the state population, but only accounted for 51 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS, while populations of color make up 15 percent of the population and 59 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. For more information on HIV in particular racial/ethnic populations in Minnesota, see the corresponding sections in this document.

Persons Living with HIV/AIDS by Race/Ethnicity and Region of Residence, Minnesota 2012*


N (%)

Greater Minnesota
N (%)

N (%)


545 (86%)

90 (15%)


 American Indian

103 (79%)

27 (19%)


 Asian/Pacific Islander

110 (81%)

25 (19%)


 African American

1,512 (93%)

120 (7%)



3,210 (87%)

601 (16%)



892 (89%)

108 (10%)



92 (88%)

13 (13%)


TOTAL 6,464 (87%) 984 (13%) 7,448 (100%)

*Does not include 68 cases with missing residence.

Mode of Exposure

The majority of living cases are among MSM (51 percent or 3,857 cases). Heterosexually and IDU (including MSM/IDU) acquired infections each account for 20 percent and 11 percent of living cases, respectively. Among living cases, 16 percent have an unspecified mode of exposure.

living HIV cases by gender and mode of exposure chart

Overview of New HIV/AIDS Cases in Minnesota    

The annual number of new HIV infection diagnoses has remained relatively stable over the last decade with an average number of 318 new HIV infection diagnoses each year. Between 2003 and 2012, 2003 had the fewest number of HIV infection diagnosis with 279 while 2009 saw the most with 372 new HIV infection diagnoses.

hiv in minnesota chart

AIDS Diagnoses

Starting in the mid-1990’s, both the number of newly diagnosed AIDS cases and the number of deaths among AIDS cases declined sharply, primarily due to the success of new antiretroviral the therapies including protease inhibitors. A slight decrease was observed between 2005 and 2007, after which the number of cases remained somewhat stable, with 202 AIDS cases diagnosed in 2012.


Since the beginning of the epidemic, males have accounted for a majority of new HIV infections diagnosed per year. While in the early nineties males accounted for over 90 percent of all new cases reported, over the past 10 years the males have accounted for closer to 75 percent of cases. The proportion of male cases increased in 2012; 81 percent of new infections occurred among males and 19 percent occurred among females.


The number of cases diagnosed over the past ten years by age group has not changed significantly. The majority of cases diagnosed are among people aged 25 to 44 years of age. However, the number of cases diagnosed among those 13 to 24 years of age has increased substantially over the past ten years. The number of new cases in that age group increased by 67 percent from 40 in 2003 to 59 in 2012; 2009 and 2010 saw record numbers in this age group with 95 and 78 cases, respectively. The number of new infections among those aged 45 and older has also substantially grown, with a 50 percent increase from 52 cases in 2003 to 78 in 2012.

hiv infections by age at diagnosis chart


(1) This number includes persons who reported Minnesota as their state of residence at the time of their HIV and/or AIDS diagnosis. It also includes persons who may have been diagnosed in a state that does not have HIV reporting and who subsequently moved to Minnesota and were reported here. HIV-infected persons currently residing in Minnesota, but who resided in another HIV-reporting state at the time of diagnosis are excluded.

(2) Kaufman JS, Cooper RS. Commentary: Considerations for Use of Racial/Ethnic Classification in Etiologic Research. American Journal of Epidemiology, 154(4), 2001


Updated Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at 10:34AM