cent, between 1986 and 1999 (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2000). Women now comprise 17 percent of the total AIDS cases reported since 1981, and 20 percent of the population living with AIDS (CDC, 2000b).
Women in racial and ethnic minority groups have been disproportionately affected by the epidemic. In 1999, 81 percent of new AIDS cases among women were reported among Hispanic and African-American women. These women represented 23 percent of the U.S. population of women (U.S. Census Bureau, 1999). The AIDS case rate among African-American women (49.0 per 100,000) was more than 20 times the rate among Caucasian women (2.3 per 100,000), while the rate among Hispanic women (14.9 per 100,000) was more than six times the rate among Caucasian women (CDC, 2000b).
AIDS has had a major impact on teenagers and young adults. In 1998, AIDS was the ninth leading cause of death among youth ages 15–24, and the fifth leading cause of death among individuals 25–44, many of whom were infected as teenagers (Murphy, 2000). Young women, and particularly members of racial and ethnic minorities have been disproportion-