HIV 'Plateau' or simply 'entrenched'?

HIV/AIDS in the USA - the current facts are:

  • The USA has hit a plateau with upwards of 50 000 new HIV infections year after year.
  • A fifth of the 1·1 million people living with HIV in the USA are unaware of their infection.
  • African Americans and Latinos represent a disproportionate proportion of those infected.
  • Men who have sex with men make up the largest number of new infections,
  • Heterosexual individuals and injecting drug users continue to make up a sizeable proportion of those living with HIV.
  • Only 66% of individuals who are HIV-positive receive some form of care and only a quarter of those treated have achieved viral load suppression.

Researchers and policy makers have therefore begun to examine more closely where the steep drop-offs at points of care occur and where the needs of groups of individuals are not being met.

Continuum of Care Initiative

According to The Lancet the shortcomings in the American strategy to combat HIV have become entrenched, but the right steps are now being taken with the 'continuum of care initiative'. The journal reports that; "This provides a true point of departure for making headway toward an AIDS-free generation. President Obama's high-profile commitment to tackle the underlying roots of the AIDS predicament and remove barriers to care are crucial steps to revivify the battle against AIDS. The success of this measure will depend on the joint efforts of lawmakers, care-providers, and Americans who are diagnosed with HIV or who are risk of contracting HIV. Pushing beyond the HIV plateau in the USA will be a long journey, but the first step—acknowledging and beginning to address the problem—has been taken."

HIV Care Continuum Initiative - examples in the plan

1 Objectives set to reduce the number of new HIV infections,

2. Address race-based and gender-based HIV health disparities,

3. Find ways to improve general health outcomes for individuals living with HIV.

4. Recommendations have been issued by the US Preventive Services Task Force indicating that Americans between the ages of 15 years and 65 years should be routinely tested for HIV.

5. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act. HIV testing will now be covered or subsidised by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health-care providers.

In the UK, according to Professor Margaret Johnson there are 20,000 people living with HIV and who do not know that they are infected…






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