Epidemiological Profile of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota

Risk Populations: Women

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HIV/AIDS Prevalence among Women

Since the beginning of the epidemic, women have accounted for approximately 25% of persons living with HIV in Minnesota as well as new HIV diagnoses. As of December 31st 2014, there were 1,880 women living with HIV in Minnesota.


Women of color account for a disproportionate number of women living with HIV in Minnesota. White women account for just 24% of women living with HIV, while women of color account for 73% of prevalent female HIV/AIDS cases whereas only 17% of the general female population in Minnesota are women of color. The largest number of women living with HIV/AIDS is among African-born women (672 persons) followed by African-American and white women (515 and 459 women, respectively).

women by race

Mode of Exposure

The majority (81%) of women living with HIV in Minnesota have an estimated mode of exposure of heterosexual contact. Injection drug use accounts for 9% of prevalent HIV infections in Minnesota among women.

Across all race/ethnicity groups, females most frequently report heterosexual contact with someone with or at risk for HIV infection as their mode of HIV exposure.  However, IDU also accounts for the next largest percentage of female cases among most race/ethnicity groups.  The largest estimated percentage of IDU cases are among American Indian women (20%), followed by white women with 16%, African Americans with 14% and Hispanics with 9%.  Among Asian and Pacific Islander females, heterosexual contact accounted for an estimated 81% of cases, and IDU for an estimated 2%. However, the number of prevalent cases among Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian females is quite small, so the results need to be interpreted carefully.  Finally, while African-born women make up the largest proportion (33%) of females living with HIV in Minnesota, they account for less than one percent of the IDU cases among HIV positive women.

HIV Diagnoses among Women

In 2014 the number of newly diagnosed HIV positive women increased by 7%, from 68 cases in 2013 to 73 cases.

By Race/Ethnicity

In 2014, women of color accounted for 13% of the female population in Minnesota but made up 79% of new infections among females, with African American and African-born women accounting for 66% of infections among women. White, non-Hispanics make up approximately 83% of the female population but only 23% of new infections among women in 2014.  African-born women continue to have the highest number of new infections among women annually. The annual number of new infections diagnosed among Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian females continues to be quite small.

females by race

By Mode of Exposure

Throughout the epidemic, heterosexual contact has been the predominant mode of HIV exposure reported among females accounting for 73% of female cases in 2014. IDU is the second most common known mode of transmission, and accounted for 3% of cases among women in 2014. An unspecified risk has been designated for a growing percentage of cases for the past several years and represented 24% of female cases in 2014.

HIV Treatment Cascade among Women

There were 1,778 HIV positive women included in the HIV Treatment Cascade analyses. Compared to the overall cascade, women are retained in care at a slightly higher rate (73% versus 72%). Women achieve viral suppression at a slightly lower rate than the overall cascade (61% versus 63%).

There were 68 cases among women reported in 2013 that were included in the linkage to care calculation. Women were linked to care at a slightly higher rate than the overall cascade in 2013 (80% versus 87%).

females by stage

Updated Thursday, July 07, 2016 at 12:00PM