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HIV Testing and Treatment Gaps Hinder Efforts to Stop New Infections


On March 18, 2019, the CDC published a report that found that the vast majority of new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2016 were transmitted from people with HIV who either did not know they had HIV or who received a diagnosis but were not receiving HIV care.

 

“Today, we have the tools to end the HIV epidemic,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. “But a tool is only useful if it’s in someone’s hands. This is why it’s vital to bring testing and treatment to everyone with HIV – and to empower them to take control of their lives and change the course of the epidemic.”

 

The CDC recommends that once a person with HIV learns their status, they begin taking antiretroviral therapy, or ART. When taken as directed, ART reduces the amount of HIV in the body to a very low level —also known as viral suppression. Studies indicate that people who are virally suppressed can protect their own health and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to others through sex, as long as they stay virally suppressed.

 

The report demonstrated the need to increase the proportion of people who are aware of their HIV status. The nearly 15 percent of people with HIV whose infections are undiagnosed, account for almost 40 percent of all HIV transmissions.

 

Additionally, the report demonstrated the need to help those with HIV get care. The roughly 23 percent of people with HIV whose infections are diagnosed, but are not receiving HIV care, account for 43 percent of all HIV transmissions. The 11 percent of people with HIV who were receiving care, but were not virally suppressed, account for 20 percent of all HIV transmissions.

 

See the CDC Announcement

 

See the CDC Report

 

 

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