African-American Adolescents: Living in a High-Risk Population

Statistics on HIV/AIDS, STDs and Unintended Pregnancy

African-American youth are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unintended pregnancy. Race and ethnicity are not risk factors but are risk markers that correlate with fundamental determinants of health such as poverty and limited access to quality health care.


National Statistics

  • The African-American rate of HIV/AIDS infection is five times higher than that for Caucasians; 38 percent AIDS cases reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been African-American.
  • African-American adolescents 13 - 19 accounted for 1,919 AIDS cases(55 percent females) and 3,517 HIV infections (62% females); AIDS is the fourth leading cause of death among African Americans ages 25 to 44 -- a group likely to have contracted HIV as adolescents.

Illinois Statistics

  • As of December 2001, African Americans, who represent about 13 percent of Illinois' population (taken from the 1999 U.S. Estimates of State Population), accounted for 48 percent of new reported cases of HIV/AIDS.
  • As of December 2001, African Americans accounted for 58 percent of reported AIDS cases in Illinois adolescents ages 13 to 19.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

National Statistics

National statistics illustrate a higher rate of STDs among African-American adolescents:
  • Reported primary and secondary syphilis rates among 15 - 19 year old males and females are higher for African Americans than for other racial and ethnic groups.
  • Among all racial, ethnic and age categories, gonorrhea rates were highest in 1999 for African Americans ages 15 - 24 years.

Illinois Statistics

In 2000, African Americans accounted for the highest number of reported cases for reportable STDs in Illinois adolescents ages 10 to 19:

  • 74 percent, or 4,258 cases, of gonorrhea infections
  • 56 percent, or 7,300 cases, of chlamydia infections
  • 84 percent, or 51 cases, of syphilis infections

Unintended Pregnancy

National Statistics

  • The teen birth rate for African Americans ages 15 to 19 declined 26 percent between 1991 and 1996; despite this decline, the African-American teen birth rate remains at 85.3 births per 1,000 women, almost double the rate for Caucasian teens of 45.4 births per 1,000 women.
  • African-American teens accounted for 23 percent of teen births in 1995.

Illinois Statistics

Illinois has the third-highest rate of all states for teenage pregnancy among African Americans ages 15 to 19; each year 126.2 babies per 1,000 teens are born to African Americans.

The following fact sheets on HIV/AIDS, STDs and unintended pregnancy are available: African-American Adolescents, Living in a High-risk Population: Hispanic Adolescents, Living in a High-risk Population : Adolescents at Risk, Statistics on HIV/AIDS, STDs and Unintended Pregnancy, Talking to Your Kids about HIV/AIDS, STDs and Unintended Pregnancy

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