Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new Vital Signs report showing that only 30 percent of Americans with HIV have their virus under control. Among those who did not have the virus under control, approximately two-thirds had been diagnosed but were no longer in care.
When used consistently, antiretroviral medication can keep HIV controlled at very low levels in the body (known as viral suppression), allowing people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives and reducing the likelihood they will transmit HIV to others.
The report, published in advance of World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), underscores the importance of making sure people with HIV receive ongoing care, treatment, and other information and tools that help prevent transmission to others, as well as the need to reach more people with HIV testing.
Of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2011, 70 percent did not have their virus under control. Among these nearly 840,000 Americans who had not achieved viral suppression:
- 66 percent had been diagnosed but were not engaged in regular HIV care
- 20 percent did not yet know they were infected
- 4 percent were engaged in care but not prescribed antiretroviral treatment
- 10 percent were prescribed antiretroviral treatment but did not achieve viral suppression
Young people were least likely to have the virus under control – just 13 percent of 18 – 24 year olds did, primarily because half don’t know they are infected. The study did not find statistically significant differences in viral suppression by race or ethnicity, sex, or risk group.