HIV Infection Rates Drop in the US – But Don't Get Excited Just Yet

A substantial drop in new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection rates is certainly good news, but the fight is far from over.

A substantial drop in new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection rates is certainly good news, but the fight is far from over.

Although infection rate is headed in a positive direction, it falls short of the goal set in the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) released in 2010 by President Barack Obama’s administration.

From 2010 to 2015, the number of new HIV infections dropped 11% on an annual basis in the United States. In addition, transmission rates dropped about 17%. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and University of Pennsylvania used a mathematical model to analyze the NHAS targets.

“The good news is that we appear to have made important strides in the prevention of HIV and the reduction of HIV transmission rates in the United States; unfortunately, these key gains only got us roughly halfway to the 2015 goal line,” senior author David Holtgrave, PhD, chair of the Department of Health Behavior, and Society at the Bloomberg School, said in a news release.

  • Related: Why We’re Missing Some Acute HIV Diagnoses

The NHAS goals were to reduce new HIV infection by 25% in a given time period as well as reduce transmission rates by 30% by 2015. The report published in AIDS and Behavior details the conclusion that these aims have yet to be met.

When the strategy was first released, experts warned that if concentration on diagnostic, prevention, and care services efforts weren’t expanded, the goals would not be researched. “Our analysis suggests that is just what happened,” Holtgrave confirmed.

Last summer, the NHAS strategy was updated to include HIV rate targets by 2020. The mistakes and successes from the past five years can help meet these goals.

  • Goal 1: Reduce new HIV infections — especially in minority groups
  • Goal 2: Increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV
  • Goal 3: Reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequities — including poor social and environmental conditions
  • Goal 4: Achieve a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic — by focusing on successes in different areas

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