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Who Is Spreading HIV in US? CDC Answers.

9 Out of 10 New Infections in US Are From Non-Diagnosed and Those Diagnosed Not On Treatment, According to CDC Analysis Published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

According to the press release:

“Individuals infected but undiagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and those individuals diagnosed with HIV but not yet in medical care accounted for more than 90 percent of the estimated 45,000 HIV transmissions in 2009, according to an article published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.”

Additionally, the article published online says that diagnosed, retained in care, virally suppressed individuals living with HIV are 94% less likely to transmit HIV than those that are HIV-infected and undiagnosed.

“According to study results, there were more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in 2009. Of those, 207,600 (18.1 percent) were undiagnosed; 519,414 (45.2 percent) knew of their infection but were not in medical care; 47,453 (4.1 percent) were in medical care but not prescribed ART; 82,809 (7.2 percent) were prescribed ART but not virally suppressed; and 290,924 (25.3 percent) had achieved viral suppression.

Those individuals who were infected with HIV but undiagnosed and those individuals who were diagnosed with HIV but not in medical care accounted for 91.5 percent (30.2 percent and 61.3 percent, respectively) of the estimated 45,000 transmission in 2009.”


3 Comments Join the Conversation →

  1. Mark Hubbard

    What struck me most about this publication is that in less than a decade we’ve moved from CDC estimates for new transmissions coming from undiagnosed HIV+positive individuals of ~70% (Marks et al, 2009) to ~50% (Hall et all 2012) to
    ~30% (Skarbinski et al 2015).

    In my mind, this seriously impacts some assumptions / premises / logic used for the basis of personal and public comments made by individuals and advocates (including myself) about things like sero-sorting, disclosure, and the dynamics of cruising and hooking up.

    Gotta say this – I *despise* the use of the verb “spread” in this context. To my mind as a community activist, the word implies intent and fails to emphasize shared responsibility, and I don’t think either is the accurate or useful.

    Undiagnosed folks by definition aren’t conscious participants in the transmission of HIV. People have not been linked to care or have dropped out of care are for many different reasons which include fear, stigma, and mental health or substance abuse issues.

    Outside of extreme coercion or rape, transmission of HIV requires the consent of two individuals who both share responsibility for taking measures to prevent it.


    • Josh Robbins

      Agree for the most part. I think I am just glad you are reading my articles. Honestly, I am kinda shocked. 🙂 Thanks for coming back. (One day, I hope to get an comment that doesn’t have the words “not useful” or “unhelpful.”) The word “spreading” ignores intent in this context. (If I bust a water balloon — water spreads on the floor. If the water balloon busts without my knowledge, water still spreads on the floor. Regardless of intent, knowledge or thought of HIV, people are exposed to the virus and it spreads.) But, as always in our disagreements, I’m proud of this article and my history as a blogger sustains where I stand on criminalizing HIV–I’m pretty far left on this issue: Never! Thank you for reading, Mark, and as I have offered you several times– you can certainly submit a guest article at any time. It may not be ‘useful’ though, actually. ;)~

      (in reply to Mark Hubbard)

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