ately affected. In 1999, females accounted for 58 percent of reported AIDS cases among 13- to 19-year-olds and 38 percent of cases among 20- to 24-year-olds. Almost half of the new AIDS cases in the 13–24 age group (43 percent) were among African Americans, and almost one-quarter (21 percent) were among Hispanics (CDC, 2000b).
Sexual exposure is the primary route of infection among young people. Most young men are infected through sex with other men, while most young women are infected through heterosexual exposure. In 1999, 50 percent of AIDS cases among males ages 13–24 were acquired through sex with other men, and 8 percent through sex with women. In the same year, nearly half of new AIDS cases (47 percent) among females ages 13–24 were acquired heterosexually. Furthermore, a proportion of “risk not specified” cases would fall into these risk exposure categories if the data were available (CDC, 2000b).5
Racial and ethnic minorities, particularly African Americans and Hispanics, have been disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic. The proportion of new cases among African Americans and Hispanics has increased over time, while the proportion of AIDS cases among Caucasians has decreased. Since 1996, African Americans have accounted for a greater proportion of AIDS cases than Caucasians. The proportion of cases has remained relatively stable in American Indians and Asian/Pacific Islanders. These two groups comprise approximately one percent of all AIDS cases (CDC, 2000b; CDC, 2000a) (Figure A.4).
Although African Americans and Hispanics, taken together, accounted for 66 percent of all new AIDS cases in 1999 (CDC, 2000b), these groups comprised only an estimated 23 percent of the total U.S. population (CDC, 2000a). In 1999, the AIDS case rate6 among African Americans (66.0 per 100,000) was more than eight times the rate among Caucasians (7.6 per 100,000), while the AIDS case rate among Hispanics (25.6 per 100,000) was three times higher than for Caucasians (CDC, 2000b).
While the number of AIDS-related deaths has declined7 among all racial and ethnic groups, the decline has been slower among African Americans and Hispanics. AIDS remains the leading cause of death among African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44, and the third