For HIV-positive people, knowing their status is only half the battle
Two-thirds of Americans who are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, aren’t being treated, according to an analysis just released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The analysis, published in the latest issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, looked at data collected in 2011 and shows more needs to be done to make sure people infected with HIV get proper treatment.
The report found:
- Of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, about 86 percent had been diagnosed and 40 percent were receiving some kind of medical care.
- Thirty-seven percent were prescribed antiviral drugs, which suppressed the virus for 30 percent of patients. Viral suppression is critical because it allows people living with HIV to have nearly normal lifespans and greatly reduces their chances of transmitting the virus to others.
- About two-thirds of those whose virus was out of control had been diagnosed but were no longer receiving care.
- Young HIV-positive people were especially unlikely to have their infection under control. Researchers believe this is because young people are the least likely to know they are infected.
- Evidence shows that when HIV-positive people receive care, 76 percent achieve viral suppression.
“For people living with HIV, it’s not just about knowing you’re infected—it’s also about going to the doctor for medical care,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D.