In the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was at its peak, it was found that married men had a much lower risk of contracting AIDS/HIV than their divorced or single counterparts. Women’s marital status did not matter much, however African-American women were nine times more likely to contract the disease than any other race. Latinas were seven times more likely.
The professor who conducted the study was Augustine Kposowa. He tracked almost 763,000 people from ages 15 and older between 1983 and 1994. During that time period 410 of them died from AIDS/HIV. Kposowa said that during the height of the epidemic people were afraid, but they also thought that it was contracted only by men sleeping with other men. They didn’t think about marital status risk factors.
Divorced or separated men were found to be six times more likely to die from AIDS/HIV than married men. Those who had never been married were 13.5 times more likely to die from it. It was also found that African-American men were 2.7 times more likely to die than white men, and Hispanic men were almost twice as likely to die than white men. For women, marital status did not seem to be a factor at all, but race definitely was.
Kposowa explains the meaning behind the marital status findings. He said that because the health care system was poor in the 80s, minority women did not go to the doctor as often because they were not as educated as they should have been on health issues, so they were more likely to contract AIDS/HIV. This is where marital status comes in as men who are single were getting together with these women and not realizing the consequences.
Unfortunately, today, Black men and women have the highest rate of unmarried adults which is still a factor that increases the risk of infection of not only HIV, but other STDs.