June 19, 2013
The U.S. National HIV Surveillance System reported that HIV-infected people younger than 45 were much less likely than older HIV-infected people to know about their infection or to receive HIV treatment. Early diagnosis and ongoing antiretroviral therapy (ART) are essential to promoting the health of HIV-infected people and preventing the virus's transmission.
The study indicated that more than 200,000 of the more than 1.1 million HIV-infected Americans did not know they had the virus, and diagnosis and linkage to care varied widely among age groups. Approximately 40 percent of HIV-infected people ages 13-24 knew their HIV status, and only 30 percent were receiving treatment. People ages 25-44 were less likely to take ART and to have a suppressed viral load (28 percent) than people ages 55-64 (46 percent).
Study authors reported they were shocked to learn that most HIV-infected Americans (more than 850,000) had not been successful in suppressing the virus through ART. Seventy-five percent of HIV-infected men, 79 percent of blacks, 74 percent of Hispanics, and 70 percent of whites also had not achieved the viral suppression treatment goal. Dr. Katerina Christopoulos and Dr. Diane Havlir, of the University of California, San Francisco, who were invited to comment on the study, urged collaboration between the HIV treatment and prevention movements to develop interventions that would increase HIV testing, linkage to care, and adherence to treatment.
The full report, "Differences in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Care and Treatment Among Subpopulations in the United States," was published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine (2013; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6841).