Young and Healthy, But Not Virally Suppressed
April 2, 2015
New Yorkers living with HIV who are younger and healthier have the lowest rates of both linkage to care and undetectable viral loads in the first year after diagnosis, according to a presentation at the recent 2015 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2015) in Seattle.
The figures from 2006-2013 show that overall city rates of care and viral suppression rose during that period. By 2013, around 86 percent of New York City residents with HIV knew their status, with 76 percent of them linked to care. Nearly 70 percent of those on treatment had undetectable viral load.
However, Lucia V. Torian, PhD, the city's head HIV epidemiologist who presented the data, speculated that New York City may not reach the very high levels seen in San Francisco and Australia, locations lauded for achieving the benchmarks set by global AIDS groups to end the epidemic.
New Yorkers under 24 the least likely HIV-positive group to be linked to care, treatment
The goals of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Plan to End AIDS, which will be carried out by the State AIDS Institute, hinge on raising rates of HIV diagnosis and treatment success and on providing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those at high risk of HIV infection who wish to take it.
The study demonstrated that rates of viral suppression rose after the establishment of city, state, and federal policies that broadened guidelines for antiretroviral use and mandated active linkage to care efforts, which Torian described as "don't just hand someone a business card; make the appointment for them and document that they actually showed up for care."
But across the years of study, those who were young (18-24 years old), healthy (as measured by CD4 count), or both had significantly lower rates of care and viral suppression. Statistics for linkage to care improved dramatically among the youngest in the study in 2013 compared to previous years, but the percentage of this group with undetectable viral load remained well below the average across all age groups.
This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of Gay City News. Read the full article.
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