Diseases Disproportionately Affecting Minorities

The following are examples of health disparities related to infectious diseases and diseases of the immune system:


  • In 2018, approximately 2.3 million Hispanics in the United States reported having asthma, and Puerto Rican Americans had twice the asthma rate of the overall Hispanic population.
  • African American women are 20 percent more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic whites.


  • Systemic lupus erythematosus is two to three times more common among African American women than among white women. It also is more common in Hispanic/Latina, Asian, and Native American women.
  • African American women are at higher risk of developing systemic scleroderma, a disease characterized by hardening in the skin or other organs, than those with European descent.

Coronaviruses (COVID-19)

  • American Indian/Alaska Native, Non-Hispanic people are 1.5 times more at risk than white, non-Hispanic people of contracting COVID, 3.2 times more at risk of hospitalization, and 2.2 times more at risk of death.
  • Black or African American, non-Hispanic people face a risk of hospitalization 2.5 times that of white, non-Hispanic people, and a risk of death 1.7 times more.
  • Hispanic or Latino people are 1.5 times more at risk than white, non-Hispanic people of contracting COVID, 2.4 times more at risk of hospitalization, and 1.8 times more at risk of death.

Hepatitis C (HCV)

  • In 2014, American Indian and Alaska Natives were five times as likely to develop a case of HCV than the white population.
  • African Americans have among the highest rates of chronic Hepatitis C and Hepatitis C-related deaths compared to other ethnic groups.


  • African Americans, more than any other racial/ethnic group, bear the greatest burden of HIV in the United States. In 2019, the overall HIV infection rate among blacks accounted for 42.1 percent of HIV diagnoses, though they comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Hispanics/Latinos are also disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2019, Hispanic Americans accounted for almost 30 percent of all new diagnoses of HIV in the United States and six dependent areas.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

  • While representing 12 percent of the U.S. population, in 2014, African Americans accounted for approximately 55.4 percent of reported gonorrhea cases, 38.1 percent of reported syphilis cases, and five to seven times the rate among white men and women of reported chlamydia cases.

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • In 2015, 87 percent of all TB cases in the United States occurred in racial and ethnic minorities, particularly in Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans.
  • African Americans make up approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 21 percent of reported TB cases in U.S.-born persons in 2015.

Other Areas of Concern

Kidney Transplantation

African Americans develop kidney failure at more than four times the rate of white Americans. In part, this increased risk can be attributed to two genetic APOL1 coding variants commonly found in African Americans. The NIH-supported APOLLO study will explore how APOL1 gene variants affect kidney transplantation outcomes, with the goal of improving the outcomes of both kidney donors and recipients.

Content last reviewed on