LOS ANGELES — A new study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that more than 90 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. are passed on from HIV-positive people who are not in medical care or treatment, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports.
The study, published Feb. 23, “estimates that 91.5 percent of new HIV infections in 2009 were attributable to people with HIV who were not in medical care, including those who didn’t know they were infected. In comparison, less than six percent of new infections could be attributed to people with HIV who were in care and receiving antiretroviral therapy,” the Journal reports.
“We were shocked to see that the number was as high as it is — nine out of 10 new HIV infections in 2009 occurred this way — over 91.5 percent” said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President. “Such off-the-charts numbers suggest that HIV/AIDS resources, funding and energies must be directed toward far more aggressive and proactive HIV testing, linkage to medical care and antiretroviral treatment for those already infected rather than to the more expensive and esoteric HIV prevention methods such as PrEP. We’ve known for over four years that ‘treatment as prevention’ works. Until this study, we just didn’t know how great the need was for us to fully deploy ‘treatment as prevention’ to get as many HIV-positive individuals in care and on treatment as possible in order to break the chain of infection.”