Annals of Health Law
ACHIEVING AN AIDS-FREE GENERATION
HIV transmission through injecting drug use disproportionally affects
women and minorities. Injecting drug use and high-risk sexual behavior are
the two most common modes of HIV transmission among women.42 More
than half of all HIV cases among women relate to injecting drug use.43 In
2010 alone, approximately 15% of females diagnosed with HIV attributed
transmission of the virus to injecting drug use, compared to 7% of males.44
HIV disproportionately affects African-Americans and Latinos regardless of
These statistics make a strong case for investment in prevention strategies
for IDUs as part of the effort toward an AIDS-free generation. IDUs may
account for up to one-third of infections among certain populations. Failure
to include IDU-directed strategies may undermine important goals of the
Blueprint. As Fauci and Folkers state, “reducing HIV infections among
reproductive-age women . . . is essential to eliminate mother-to-child
transmission of HIV.”46 Failing to address a major source of infection among
women may undermine such efforts.47 Similarly, underestimating IDUs’ role
Heterosexual HIV and Sexual Partnerships Between Injection Drug Users and Noninjection
Drug Users, 24 AIDS PATIENT CARE & STDS 175 (2010). IDUs continue to represent a
significant risk group globally, accounting for approximately one-third of people living with
HIV outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Libby Topp et al., Fifteen Years of HIV Surveillance
Among People Who Inject Drugs: The Australian Needle and Syringe Exchange Program
Survey 1995–2009, 25 AIDS 835, 835 (2011) (citing UNAIDS 2008 Report on the Global
42. DIV. OF HIV/AIDS PREVENTION, supra note 31, at 1.
43. CTRS. FOR DISEASE CON TROL & PREVENTION (2002), supra note 41, at 1. As of 2000,
57% percent of all cases of HIV in women were associated with injecting drug use or sexual
contact with an HIV-infected IDU. Id. at 1. A small proportion of HIV transmissions result
from blood transfusions, receiving blood products or organs, and from mother to baby. HIV
Transmission, supra note 33.
44. Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention, HIV Surveillance in Injection Drug Users
(through 2010), http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/idu/resources/slides/ (last modified July 23, 2012).
45. While Hispanics/Latinos made up 15% of the U.S. population in 2006, this group
accounted for 17% of new HIV infections that year. DIV. OF HIV/AIDS PREVENTION, CTRS.
FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION, HIV AMONG HISPANICS/LATINOS 1 (2010), available
at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/hispanics/resources/factsheets/pdf/hispanic.pdf. In 2009, the rate
of new HIV infection among African American men was six and a half times greater than
white men and two and a half times greater than Hispanic/Latino men. DIV. OF HIV/AIDS
PREVENTION, CTRS. FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION, HIV AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS
1 (2011), available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/aa/pdf/aa.pdf; see also B. Laffoon et al.,
Disparities in Diagnoses of HIV Infection Between Blacks/African Americans and Other
Racial/Ethnic Populations—37 States, 2005–2008, 60 MORBIDITY & MORTALITY WKLY. REP.
46. Anthony S. Fauci & Gregory K. Folkers, Towards an AIDS-Free Generation, 308
JAMA 343, 343 (2012).
47. While highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) during pregnancy can
substantially reduce the risk of transmission, it requires women to be aware of their infection.
See HHS PANEL ON TREATMENT OF HIV-INFECTED PREGNANT WOMEN AND PREVENTION OF