While annual infections in the U.S. have been reduced by more than two-thirds since the height of the epidemic in the mid-1980s, CDC data indicates that progress has stalled in recent years, with about 38,000 NEW infections each year between 2014 and 2018.

Some alarming statistics

  • 01

    1.2 Million

    1.2 Million people in the U.S. are living with HIV today.
  • 02


    That's approximately 38,000 NEW infections per year.
  • 03

    South Carolina Ranked 11th

    South Carolina ranks 11th in the U.S. with an AIDS case rate of 15.8 per 100,000 residents.
  • 04

    20,166 South Carolina Residents

    In 2018, there were 20,166 people living with HIV in South Carolina.

HIV/AIDS in South Carolina

HIV and AIDS remains a persistent problem for countries around the world, throughout the United States and right here in our own back yard, South Carolina.  While great progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, there is still much to do. 

Since 2008 the number of people in South Carolina living with HIV or AIDS has increased 30%, according to a profile on HIV and AIDS released in 2019 by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).  With more than 20,000 people living with HIV or AIDS in South Carolina, it ranks 11th among states, with an AIDS case rate of 15.8 per 100,000 residents.  In fact, South Carolina is considered a “hot spot” and is one of seven states accounting for more than 50% of new HIV diagnoses nationally. 

The epidemic is continuing to grow with an average of 64 cases of HIV infection reported each month during 2018.  As of December 31, 2018, there were an estimated 20,166 South Carolina residents living with diagnosed HIV infection (including AIDS).

In response to a national strategy aimed at ending the HIV epidemic by 2030, state and federal health officials are pushing to increase awareness, reduce the stigma about the virus, and ensure more people are tested.   

Community engagement is key to maximizing South Carolina’s effort to reduce HIV/AIDS by increasing public awareness, and we need your help! 

What is HIV/AIDS?

While many people immediately think of AIDS when they hear HIV, but HIV and AIDS are different.  HIV is a Human Immunodeficiency Virus.  It is a virus that weakens your immune system, causing it to be “deficient” and unable to fight other viruses or infections.  AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition that is caused by HIV.  But HIV doesn’t always lead to AIDS. It can take years before HIV weakens a person’s immune system to the point that they contract AIDS.  With proper treatment, you can keep HIV under control. 

How do I know if I have HIV?

The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. Knowing your HIV status can help you make healthy decisions to prevent getting or transmitting HIV.

What are the symptoms?

Some people may not feel sick during acute HIV infection, while others may experience flu-like symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks after infection (called acute HIV infection). These symptoms may last for a few days or several weeks. Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Rash
  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers

These symptoms do not mean you have HIV.  Other illnesses can cause these same symptoms.  You should visit a health care provider if you have these symptoms, and think you may have been exposed to HIV.  Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know for sure.