TUESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Some 1.2 million Americans
are living with HIV, yet only about 28 percent of them have their
disease under control, federal health officials report.
Efforts to diagnose, treat and reduce transmission of the virus
need to be redoubled, claims a new study from the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, which was released just before
World AIDS Day on Thursday, Dec. 1.
"The bottom line here is that we have the tools to stop HIV from spreading," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden, said during a noon press conference on Tuesday.
"The most encouraging new finding is that when people start HIV treatment early, when their immune systems are still relatively strong, they are 96 percent less likely to infect their partners," he said. "This study brings home that treatment is prevention; that treatment is essential to prevention."
But there is a lot of work to be done to fully see the
beneficial effect of treatment, Frieden said. "About 850,000
Americans with HIV do not have the virus controlled," he said.
The first step is to get people to recognize their HIV status
through testing, Frieden said. "And second, to make sure that every
person with HIV has every opportunity to remain in ongoing care
after they're diagnosed," he added.
The CDC recommends that HIV testing be a part of a regular
checkup at least once, and for those most at risk, testing should
be done at least once a year.
According to the CDC report, in 2010 only 9.6 percent of adult
Americans had been tested for HIV during in the past 12 months.
Testing varied by state, from 4.9 percent to 29.8 percent, the
Of the more than 900,000 people with HIV who know it, about 77
percent were linked to care and 51 percent were getting continuing
In addition, 45 percent had prevention counseling and 89 percent
were taking antiretroviral medications. Of these, the virus was
suppressed in 77 percent, meaning the virus was suppressed in about
28 percent of all Americans with HIV, according to the report.
Those least likely to know they have HIV and least likely to get
prevention counseling are gay and bisexual men, the population most
affected by the disease, researchers noted.
To make its estimates, the CDC used data from the National HIV
Surveillance System, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
and the Medical Monitoring Project, as well as other published
Dr. Margaret Fischl, director of the AIDS Clinical Research Unit
and co-director of the University of Miami Developmental Center for
AIDS Research, said that "one has to continue to push to make
people realize that you should be testing everyone. Everyone should
be tested if they are young and sexually active."
Moreover, more infected people need to get treatment and stay on
treatment, she said. "I didn't spend 25 years designing
antiretroviral trials to get where we are today to see these types
of numbers," she said.
"We know these regimens can have a 96 percent success rate," Fischl said. "These regimens today are very powerful, they're easy to take, they have much less side effects and patients needed to be followed intensely," she added. In addition, treatment can help reduce the transmission of HIV, Fischl said.
For more information on HIV/AIDS, visit the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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