Key populations continue to affect HIV epidemic in the US

10 November 2014
An HIV ribbon

New HIV infections among the general population in the United States have declined by 5.6 percent from 2008 to 2011, according to a new report by the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC). The report also finds that key affected populations have been left behind – with men who have sex with men (MSM), young people, adolescents and adults under 30 experiencing an increase in new HIV infections over the same period.

The 2012 HIV Surveillance Report compiles and analyses statistics from US state and territory health departments each year. According to the report, the rate of new diagnosis per 100,000 cases has decreased from 16.2 in 2008 to 15.3 in 2011. Rates of new diagnoses among young people aged 20-24 witnessed the highest rate of increase, at 36.6 per 100,000, and accounting for around 17 percent of new HIV cases. Rates of new infections among women have declined, whilst men account for 80 percent of all new infections in the US in 2012. Additionally, Black African communities account for 43 percent of new cases, even though they comprise of only 13 percent of the US population. Modes of transmission for HIV reported decreases in new HIV infections from injecting drug use and from heterosexual sex. However HIV infections resulting from male-to-male sexual contact have increased.

The report states that there are currently 880,440 people living with HIV and aware of their status in the US. However it is estimated that around 18 percent of people living with HIV are unaware of their status. In the US, the burden of HIV continues to affect key populations – in order to break this cycle, more effort is needed to target these groups with prevention messages and to get them testing regularly for HIV.

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