CDC: Only 30 percent of Americans with HIV have the virus under control

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new report on HIV today showing that just 30 percent of Americans with the virus had it under control, and approximately two-thirds of those whose virus was out of control had been diagnosed but were not under care. The CDC’s Vital Signs report was released in advance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.

A graphic from the CDC Vital Signs report showing percentages of viral suppression. (via CDC)
A graphic from the CDC Vital Signs report showing percentages of viral suppression. (via CDC)

The figures are based on those Americans living with HIV in 2011, which the study estimates at 1.2 million people. Among the 840,000 people who who did not have their virus under control (i.e. 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, and
·           10 percent were prescribed antiretroviral treatment but did not achieve viral suppression.

Young people, or those 18 to 24 years old, were the least likely to have the virus under control, primarily because half of that group don’t know they are infected. The study did not find significant differences in viral suppression by race or ethnicity, sex or risk group, including gay and bisexual men.

“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,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a press release.  “And for health care facilities, it’s not just about the patients in your care – it’s every person diagnosed, and every person whose diagnosis has not yet been made.  Key to controlling the nation’s HIV epidemic is helping people with HIV get connected to – and stay in – care and treatment, to suppress the virus, live longer and help protect others.”

World AIDS Day is celebrated throughout the world every Dec. 1 to support better HIV prevention, care and education about the virus. Click here to see the many Atlanta-area events planned for the day.