August 7, 2012
At the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) last week, CDC released important information that helps us look more closely at the HIV treatment cascade. Their national analysis is the first to examine the proportion of persons engaged in the stages of HIV care by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and risk factor. This information helps us determine where and how to focus our efforts to make necessary improvements at each stage of the cascade. (Last month, we shared a blog post about the HIV treatment cascade describing what it is and why it is important an important tool to support our work to achieve the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.)
According to the new CDC data (PDF 930KB), presented at the conference by CDC epidemiologist Irene Hall, Ph.D., we know that only 25 percent (down from an earlier estimate of 28 percent) of the more than 1 million individuals in the U.S. who are living with HIV/AIDS are making it all the way through the HIV treatment cascade and achieving viral suppression, which means that the virus is under control at a level that keeps people healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others. The new analysis also indicates that African Americans and younger people are the least likely to be in ongoing care and have their virus under control.
I recently had the opportunity to discuss this important new analysis with Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of CDC's National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. We also discussed CDC's new Let's Stop AIDS Together campaign which raises awareness about HIV and its impact on the lives of all Americans, and fights stigma by showing that persons with HIV are real peopleómothers, fathers, friends, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, partners, wives, husbands, and co-workers. Watch our brief conversation below:
The following resources provide additional information on this analysis:
Ronald Valdiserri, M.D., M.P.H. is deputy assistant secretary for health, infectious diseases, and director of the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.