Posts Tagged ‘HIV not under control in US’

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NBC News (11/26, Fox) writes that a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while most Americans with HIV know they’re infected, “just 30 percent…have it under control.” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “Today’s study shows too many people with HIV aren’t getting the care they need.” The article calls the issue “frightening” because medication can keep those with HIV healthy and, as Frieden noted, “less likely to infect others.” While the report doesn’t go into why people aren’t being treated, “navigating the red tape of the U.S. healthcare system may be one major factor.” The CDC found that in 2011 1.2 million Americans had HIV, 86 percent of those knew it, just 40 percent were seeing a healthcare provider about it, 37 percent had a prescription for medicine to treat the condition, and “and only 30 percent actually had the virus controlled.”

The Hill (11/26, Ferris) reports Frieden said, “We’re not reaching nearly enough people.” He added, “Good care and treatment are good prevention.”

Reuters (11/26, Steenhuysen) reports the CDC found that just 13 percent of those with HIV between the ages of 18 and 24 achieved viral suppression, possibly because under half of those with HIV in that age range have been diagnosed. Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, said in a statement, “There is untapped potential to drive down the epidemic through improved testing and treatment, but we’re missing too many opportunities.”

HealthDay (11/26, Thompson) reports researchers said that “a combination of indifference and lack of access* to medical care appeared to outweigh ignorance as a driving factor in cases of uncontrolled HIV.”

Blogfinger Medical Commentary: Paul Goldfinger, MD.

That so many cases of HIV are going untreated or inadequately treated  is really bad news, because HIV has become a chronic disease with a multitude of good drugs to keep the infection under control. The drugs work by different mechanisms, but there are now easy to take medications which include several anti-viral drugs, working in different ways,  rolled into one tablet.

The idea that “lack of access to medical care”*  is a factor is alarming.  If the government can rally an urgent response to Ebola in Africa, surely they can use an executive order to do something to improve that “access” in the US. Thousands of new cases of HIV continue to be occur each year, and the fact that only a small minority of cases in the 18-24 age group are being treated is frightening as is the fact that half of those young people with HIV have not yet been diagnosed.

As noted, these treatments can help prevent transmission when infected people have sex with uninfected partners. This is called a “mixed-status relationship,”



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