A new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that only 30 percent of people living in the country with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are very consistent in keeping a check on their virus, while a huge percentage are unaware about their exact disease status, putting others at high infection risk.
According to the CDC report, 840,000 of the 1.2 million people infected with HIV in the year 2011 were found very irregular in taking the anti-HIV medications responsible for suppressing the virus at very low levels.
Of the 840,000 infected people, 66 percent had also been diagnosed with the HIV infection. But the infected population was not getting regular care. Another 20 percent were not aware of their HIV status, while 10 percent were recommended anti-HIV drugs called antiretroviral treatment (but they failed to get the virus under control). The remaining four percent were under the doctor’s care, but they were not prescribed any anti-HIV drugs.
Previous studies have strongly suggested that viral suppression can help in lowering the risk of infection transmission by as much as 96 percent and most importantly, it allows extension of the lives of people infected with the deadly virus.
The percentage of HIV-infected Americans, who achieved viral suppression remained in roughly stable condition, with 30 percent of them achieving that target in 2011. It was just 26 percent in 2009.
According to the report, the most inconsistent group in keeping check on virus was those of the youths. Only 13 percent of people between 18 and 24 years achieved viral suppression goal in 2011 as compared to 23 percent in age group 25-34 years. Rest of the age group who had successfully suppressed their virus levels are: 27 percent in 35-44 age group, 34 percent in 45-54 age group, 36 percent in 55-64 age group and 37 percent of those aged 65 and above.
Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention, said, “There is untapped potential to drive down the epidemic through improved testing and treatment, but we’re missing too many opportunities.”
A CDC report shows as many as 50,000 Americans get HIV infection each year.