|Eighty-five percent of the population of the Bahamas is of African heritage. About two-thirds of the population resides on New Providence Island (the location of Nassau). Many ancestors arrived at the Bahama Islands when they served as a staging area for the slave trade in the early 1800's. Others accompanied thousands of British loyalists who fled the American colonies during the Revolutionary War. In July 2001, the estimated population was 297,852. However, due to the high death rates, this estimate may not be acurate. There are currently about 7,000 people living with HIV or AIDS.