CDC releases HIV vital signs

CDC Vital Signs

From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
– Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2014 HIV Vital Signs, which includes:

The topic of this year’s Vital Signs is the HIV Care Continuum in the United States, which reports on the percentages of people living with HIV in various stages of diagnosis, care, and antiretroviral treatment. Ensuring that all those living with HIV are successfully treated is critical to improve their overall health and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to their partners. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and the White House’s Continuum of Care Initiative seek to identify people who are living with HIV, link them to care, and ultimately increase the proportion of people with a suppressed viral load.

For 2011, the data on the HIV Care Continuum showed that of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States:

  • 86% had been diagnosed with HIV,
  • 40% were engaged in HIV medical care,
  • 37% were prescribed antiretroviral therapy (ART), and
  • 30% achieved viral suppression.

Viral suppression means having very low levels of HIV in the body, even though the virus is still there. The data show no differences in viral suppression by sex, race/ethnicity, or transmission category. However, there were differences by age. Only 13% of persons aged 18-24 had achieved viral suppression, compared with 37% of those aged 65 and over.

All of these data can be found in Monitoring Selected National HIV Prevention and Care Objectives by Using HIV Surveillance Data—United States and 6 Dependent Areas—2012, also released today.

The percentage of people living with HIV who achieve viral suppression could be increased by expanding HIV testing efforts so that all people living with undiagnosed HIV know their status and are linked to and engaged in ongoing HIV medical care. Early and regular treatment with ART can protect health and extend life. People with HIV who are diagnosed early, begin ART immediately, and continue receiving ongoing care can have a life expectancy near to that of people who do not have HIV. Further, being on ART and virally suppressed can greatly reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV to partners. These benefits are powerful.

Health care providers can help keep patients in care by using appointment reminders, or by referring them to support services, such asnutrition, housing, or mental health services. They can also work with health departments in a Data to Care program to use HIV surveillance data to identify people with HIV who are not in care and link them to care. To encourage people living with HIV to get in care and stay in care, CDC recently released HIV Treatment Works, a new campaign under the Act Against AIDS initiative. This campaign focuses on helping people living with HIV get into care, start taking ART, remain in care, and adhere to treatment. Our clinical partners – doctors, nurses, and other health care providers, as well as health departments and professional organizations–play a pivotal role in helping get the word out about the health-preserving and HIV- prevention potential of getting on, and staying on, ART in order to achieve viral suppression.

Please share the CDC Vital Signs information broadly with your colleagues and partners. Visit the HIV Vital Signs web page to find theVital Signs MMWR article, fact sheet, and other materials. Take advantage of CDC’s social media tools, such as the Vital Signs buttons and email updates. You can have Vital Signs sent directly to your own website to display through our content syndication service. We also invite you to join us for the Vital Signs Town Hall Teleconference designed to provide a forum for our nation’s health officials on December 2, 2014 at 2pm (EDT).

Vital Signs is not just about data, it is about action. Please join us to fight to prevent HIV infections.
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Eugene McCray, MD
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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