ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Only 30 percent of Americans with HIV have the virus under control, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With this new study, the CDC urges people with HIV to receive ongoing care, treatment, information and tools to help prevent the transmission to others.
Among those whose infection was not under control, 66 percent were no longer in care and 20 percent had never been diagnosed.
“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,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a press release. “And for health care facilities, it’s not just about 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.”
Treatment has been shown to reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 96 percent.
The CDC is focusing on stopping HIV transmission through treatment. They believe that progress can be made in reducing new infections.
“There is untapped potential to drive down the epidemic through improved testing and treatment, but we’re missing too many opportunities,” Jonathan Mermin, M.D. director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, said in the press release. “Treatment is crucial. It is one of our most important strategies for stopping new HIV infections.”
Some initiatives the CDC have implemented include innovative partnerships to make HIV testing simple, accessible, and routine; programs to help health departments identify and reach out to infected individuals who have fallen out of care; and, public awareness campaigns to urge testing and encourage people with HIV to seek ongoing care.
The study found that younger adults with HIV are least likely to have the virus under control. Only 13 percent of people aged 18 to 24 had the virus under control.
“It’s alarming that fewer that half of HIV-positive young adults know they are infected,” Eugene McCray, M.D., director of CDEC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in the press release. “Closing that gap could have a huge impact on controlling HIV – knowing your status is the first critical step toward taking care of you own health and avoiding transmission to others.”
The study did not take into effect other factors such as race or ethnicity, sex, or risky behavior.