Opioid Substitution Therapy Is Linked to Lowered HIV Risk

“Methadone maintenance therapy and treatment with buprenorphine-naloxone are equally effective at reducing HIV injecting risk behaviours among people who inject drugs, investigators from the United States report in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Both treatments were associated with significant reductions in injecting practices linked to a risk of HIV transmission. Sexual risk behaviour also decreased in women taking both therapies. However, drop-out rates were higher among people treated with buprenorphine-naloxone and men taking this therapy reported significantly higher rates of sexual risk-taking.”

http://www.aidsmap.com/Methadone-and-buprenorphine-naloxone-both-associated-with-reduced-HIV-risk-among-people-who-inject-drugs/page/2849368/

Source: Aidsmap.com – April 29, 2014

Fewer Opioid Treatment Programs Offer HIV Testing

“According to a study, fewer opioid treatment programs are offering onsite testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), despite guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending routine HIV testing in all health care settings.

The absolute number of programs offering testing for HIV, STIs, and HCV increased from 2000 to 2011. However, the percentage of programs offering HIV testing decreased significantly, by 18%, and the percentage of those offering testing for STIs fell by 13% throughout the study. Testing for each infection did not change over time in public programs, but HIV testing dropped by 20% among for-profit programs and 11% in nonprofit programs.

http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2014/February2014/Fewer-Opioid-Treatment-Programs-Offer-HIV-Testing

Source: PharmacyTimes.com - February 19, 2014

Proportion of Opioid Treatment Programs Offering On-Site Testing For HIV and STIs Declines

technology“A survey of opioid treatment programs finds that the proportion offering on-site testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) declined substantially between 2000 and 2011, despite guidelines recommending routine opt-out HIV testing in all health care settings, according to a study appearing in the December 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

From 2000 to 2011, the absolute number of programs offering testing for HIV, STIs, and the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) increased but the percentage offering on-site testing for HIV declined by 18 percent and for STIs by 13 percent. There was no change for HCV testing. More than 75 percent of public programs offered on-site testing for each infection, with no change over time.

Declines were most pronounced in for-profit programs.”

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-12-proportion-opioid-treatment-on-site-hiv.html

Source: MedicalExpress.com – December 24, 2013

Studies – Advance Knowledge of HIV Impact on Hepatitis C Infection and Genes That May Thwart HCV

Infectious disease experts at Johns Hopkins have found that among people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), co-infection with HIV, speeds damage and scarring of liver tissue by almost a decade.

In a second study of HCV infection, the Johns Hopkins research team participated in the discovery of two genetic mutations that make it more likely that patients’ immune systems can rid the body of HCV. Both studies are described in articles published online in February ahead of print in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Our latest study results suggest that HIV might promote aging and disease progression in people with HCV,” says infectious disease specialist and senior investigator, David L. Thomas, M.D., M.P.H. Thomas, who is the Stanhope Bayne-Jones Professor and director of infectious diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a professor at the university’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, says that among 1,176 study participants, those co-infected with HCV and HIV showed the same severity of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis as those who were infected only with HCV but were 9.2 years older. All study participants were current and former intravenous drug users from Baltimore whose health and disease progression were being monitored with bi-monthly check-ups and liver tissue samples taken from 2006 to 2011.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a quarter of the 3.2 million Americans chronically infected with HCV are also infected with HIV.

Thomas says the findings may help physicians predict the people who are most likely to self-recover from exposure to HCV, and those who will most likely require aggressive treatment right away.

The press release can be accessed at:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/jhm-sak030413.php

Free access to the articles is available for a limited time at: http://annals.org/onlineFirst.aspx

Source: – John Hopkins Medicine – March 4, 2013

Methadone Protects Injected Drug Users from HIV Infection

Methadone reduces risk of HIV infection in people who inject drugs, a new study says.

Researchers analyzed previous research on opioid substitution therapy (OST) and HIV transmission available from countries like the USA, Canada, UK, Netherland, Austria, Italy, Thailand, Puerto Rico, etc. A total of nine studies were selected for the analysis. The studies were mostly conducted on men between the ages of 26 and 39 years.

Researchers found that OST reduced the risk of HIV infection by 54 percent. Absolute reduction in HIV risk was difficult to calculate because the study participants had different risk backgrounds. However, researchers found an association between OST use and lower HIV risk.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/12552/20121006/methadone-protects-injected-drug-users-hiv-infection.htm

Source: MedicalDaily.com – October 6, 2012

U.S. Health Panel Likely to Make HIV Tests Routine

Reuters reported on August 19 that the United States Preventive Services Task force, a government-backed group of clinicians and scientists, is expected to make a new recommendation on HIV screening available for public comment before the end of the year.

Health officials close to the panel, speaking on condition of anonymity, see it making a positive recommendation for routine screening, updating their current position, issued in 2005, which leaves the decision up to doctors.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/19/us-usa-health-hiv-idUSBRE87I04J20120819

Source: Reuters.com – August 19, 2012

War on Drugs Fuelling Spread of HIV, Report Concludes

The worldwide war on drugs has been a “remarkable failure,” only serving to drive the spread of HIV among drug users and their sexual partners, suggests a new report published by The Global Commission on Drug Policy.

According to the report, injection drug use now accounts for about one-third of new HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa. Tough drug law enforcement policies around the world are driving that spread in a number of ways, including:

  • Forcing drug users underground to avoid arrest, away from HIV testing and HIV prevention services
  • Spreading the HIV pandemic in prisons, where drug use in often rampant, by needlessly incarcerating non-violent drug offenders
  • Encouraging syringe sharing by restricting groups from offering sterile syringes to drug users
  • Wasting funding on ineffective drug law enforcement efforts instead of investing it in proven HIV prevention strategies.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/war-on-drugs-fuelling-spread-of-hiv-report-concludes-1.854231#axzz1z1Ctxfkq

Source: CTV News.com - June 26, 2012

A Call for OTPs to Step up Rapid HIV Testing

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and their Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) network, along with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), are urging substance abuse treatment programs to step up rapid testing for HIV during the time patients are in treatment programs. Patients in substance abuse treatment are at high risk of HIV infection because they may engage in injection drug use and unsafe sex.

The need for rapid HIV testing is compelling, with new HIV cases in the U.S. appearing at a steady rate of about 50,000 per year. About one person in five who is HIV positive is unaware of it—and those are the people, according to SAMHSA, who transmit most new cases of HIV. Identifying them and getting them into treatment could impact the spread of HIV.

Rapid tests for onsite use are inexpensive and widely available to Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) and other programs through the local health department and the State Authority. Positive rapid test results must be confirmed by traditional blood tests. Rapid test results take one to 20 minutes, so patients can learn their HIV status in a single visit. Despite this, and despite the well-known link between substance misuse and HIV infection, fewer than half of U.S. drug treatment programs offer HIV testing onsite. OTPs do better than most programs; 69 percent of OTPs offer onsite HIV testing.

How Effective Are Onsite Testing and Counseling?

To find out, SAMHSA-ATTC /NIDA carried out a multisite HIV Rapid Testing and Counseling Study, enrolling adults from four types of programs—outpatient medication-assisted treatment, outpatient psychosocial, intensive outpatient, and residential. Participants were either HIV-negative or of unknown HIV status, and had not been HIV-tested during the previous 12 months. They were divided randomly into three HIV testing groups:

  • Onsite, with brief risk-reduction counseling
  • Onsite, with verbal information about testing only
  • Referred for offsite testing

Results

More than 80 percent of those tested onsite received their test results, compared to only 18 percent who followed through when referred offsite. The results support routine rapid HIV testing and providing patients with information about testing, but not risk-reduction counseling for those who tested HIV–.  Patients were glad to have test results so quickly, and said they “felt safe,” and were “so happy” about being able to be tested in their own program, rather than being referred elsewhere, according to Louise Haynes, MSW. Onsite testing was a real asset to the program.

The HIV Rapid Testing Initiative 

The HIV Rapid Testing in Substance Abuse Treatment Program is a joint effort by the SAMHSA-ATTC /NIDA Blending Initiative to put the results of medical research—such as new rapid diagnostic tests—into the hands of treatment providers as quickly as possible. Spurred by an Institute of Medicine report of a 17-year gap between the publication of research results and their practical impact on patient care, the Blending Initiative speeds the dissemination of findings from research-based drug abuse treatment into community-based practice.  Its website offers a Fact Sheet, Resource Guide, Marketing Materials, Training Information, State-Specific Testing Laws, and other resources, including a Budget Worksheet to help OTPs set up an HIV Rapid Testing Program.

http://www.attcnetwork.org/explore/priorityareas/science/blendinginitiative/rapidtesting/hivrapidtest.asp

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/testing/rapid/#Main

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/nidasamhsa-blending-initiative

L.A. Moves the Needle – The City’s Early Action in AIDS/HIV Prevention by Providing a Needle Exchange Program Proved to be Prescient. Now is no Time to Back Off

In 1992 in Los Angeles, where needle exchanges were already in effect, the rate of HIV among those who injected drugs was 8.4%. In 1993, the HIV rate in Miami for that population was the highest in the country: 48%. Although Miami put into place HIV-prevention programs, there has never been a large-scale needle exchange program there. Today the rate of HIV among injection drug users in Miami is 16%. In Los Angeles, the rate stayed low, and as of 2009, the most recent data available, it was 5%.

These facts have important consequences. Extrapolating from county data, it’s believed that about 34,000 Los Angeles residents are injection drug users. The California Department of Public Health calculates the lifetime costs of treating one person with HIV at $385,200. If those 34,000 Angelenos had an HIV rate of 16% rather than 5%, we’d be spending an additional $1.4 billion in treatment costs.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-scholar-hiv-needle-exchange-20120410,0,4371176.story

Source:  Los Angeles Times – April 10, 2012

First Guidelines Issued for Getting People Newly Diagnosed with HIV Disease into Care

Leading AIDS experts at Johns Hopkins and other institutions around the world have issued new guidelines to promote entry into and retention in HIV care, as well as adherence to HIV treatment, drawn from the results of 325 studies conducted with tens of thousands of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The guidelines are believed to be the first ever to focus exclusively on how best to get those newly diagnosed with HIV into treatment plans and to help them adhere to lifelong drug and check-up regimens.

Some 50,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with the potentially deadly, but now-treatable infection, and more than a million Americans already are known to be HIV positive.

However, experts worry that barely two-thirds of Americans with HIV disease, some 69 percent, have ever used potent antiretroviral drug therapy, or ART, to keep viral levels in the blood low. Still fewer, they say, 59 percent, continue their drug therapy, and less than a third, or 28 percent, have achieved near total viral suppression to keep the disease in check by carefully complying with treatment regimens and getting regular tests for viral load.

The need is urgent, he says, because other research has shown that patients who miss follow-up medical visits within the first year after they begin outpatient drug treatment for HIV infection tend to be out of compliance with regimens, and, over the long term, die at twice the rate of those who keep their appointments.

Chang, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, was one of 31 experts worldwide, including three faculty members at Johns Hopkins, who drafted the guidelines on behalf of the International Association of Physician in AIDS Care, or IAPAC.

The guidelines were published online earlier this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine and the publication was timed to coincide with the 19th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle.

Funding support for the guidelines, which took over a year to complete, was provided by the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research.

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/first_guidelines_issued_for_getting_people_newly_diagnosed_with_hiv_disease_into_care_and_keeping_them_on_treatment

Source: John Hopkins Medicine – March 5, 2012

Source:

New SAMHSA Advisory: Rapid HIV Testing in Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities

This new 8-page advisory describes rapid HIV testing and reviews the benefits of its use in substance abuse treatment facilities. The document reviews testing regulations and outlines the procedures for implementing the testing, including factors associated with pretest and posttest counseling.

http://www.atforum.com/addiction-resources/documents/Advisory-Rapid_HIV_Testing.pdf

Source: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – December 2011

RI Hospital Study Analyzes Link Between HIV Infection and Overdose Risk

A study from Rhode Island Hospital, published ahead of print in the journal AIDS, is the first to systematically review and analyze the literature on the association between HIV infection and overdose risk. The findings show a 74 percent greater risk of overdose among drug users if they are HIV-infected. The researchers found that reasons for the increased risk are biological and behavioral, but may also include environmental and structural factors.

Drug overdose is a common cause of non-AIDS death among people with HIV and is the leading cause of death for people who inject drugs. People with HIV are often exposed to opioid medication as part of their treatment, while others may continue to use illicit opioids despite their disease status. Both scenarios present a heightened risk for fatal and non-fatal overdose. While the association between HIV infection and injection drug use has been well documented, the potential association between HIV and overdose has received less attention.

With this in mind, Traci Green, PhD, MSc, a researcher with Rhode Island Hospital and the Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, led a study to systematically review the literature on the putative association of HIV infection with overdose, meta-analyze the results and explore the causes.

“It is not entirely clear why the risk is greater, and few studies have endeavored to figure out why this might be happening,” Green points out. Biological explanations for the association could include clinical status, immunosuppression, opportunistic infections and poorer physical health in this population, while several studies posit that conditions that affect body’s ability to metabolize, like hepatitis C infection, may also increase the risk of overdose. Behavioral factors include high-risk lifestyles and psychiatric comorbidities that might be greater among HIV-infected than HIV-uninfected drug users.

Green further explains that other reasons for the association may include factors such as poor access to medication-assisted therapy to treat opioid dependence, homelessness and poverty, which may contribute to a higher risk of overdose.

Through their research, Green reports that there are ways to reduce the increased risk of overdose among this population. Green comments, “The good news is that we already have several cost-effective overdose prevention tools to call upon. The first is access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) medications, prescribed by providers prepared to prevent and manage potential interactions between antiretrovirals and drugs with abuse potential. The second is medication-assisted therapy, and in particular, methadone and buprenorphine therapies, which have been shown to protect against fatal overdose. The third tool is distribution of Naloxone (Narcan), a prescription medication with no abuse potential that reverses an opioid overdose, to people who are HIV positive and use opiates.

Green adds, “Bringing overdose awareness and prevention into the HIV care setting is critical to reducing overdose deaths. Health care providers who treat HIV-infected patients with a history of substance abuse or who are taking opioid medications should consider counseling patients on how to reduce their risk of overdose. They may also consider prescribing Naloxone to patients, or offering a referral to MAT to reduce the risk of overdose.”

The study was funded through grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute on Drug Abuse and the NIH Center for AIDS Research.

http://www.lifespan.org/news/2011/12/12/ri-hospital-study-analyzes-link-between-hiv-infection-and-overdose-risk/

The abstract is available at: http://journals.lww.com/aidsonline/Abstract/publishahead/HIV_infection_and_risk_of_overdose___a_systematic.99042.aspx

Source: Lifespan News – December 12, 2011

Vital Signs: HIV Prevention through Care and Treatment in the U.S. – Research Abstract

Background: An estimated 1.2 million persons in the United States were living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in 2008. Improving survival of persons with HIV and reducing transmission involve a continuum of services that includes diagnosis (HIV testing), linkage to and retention in HIV medical care, and ongoing HIV prevention interventions, including appropriately timed antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods: CDC used three surveillance datasets to estimate recent HIV testing and HIV prevalence among U.S. adults by state, and the percentages of HIV-infected adults receiving HIV care for whom ART was prescribed, who achieved viral suppression, and who received prevention counseling from health-care providers. Published data were used to estimate the numbers of persons in the United States living with and diagnosed with HIV and, based on viral load and CD4 laboratory reports, linked to and retained in HIV care.

Results: In 2010, 9.6% of adults had been tested for HIV during the preceding 12 months (range by state: 4.9%–29.8%). Of the estimated 942,000 persons with HIV who were aware of their infection, approximately 77% were linked to care, and 51% remained in care. Among HIV-infected adults in care, 45% received prevention counseling, and 89% were prescribed ART, of whom 77% had viral suppression. Thus, an estimated 28% of all HIV-infected persons in the United States have a suppressed viral load.

Conclusions: Prevalence of HIV testing and linkage to care are high but warrant continued effort. Increasing the percentages of HIV-infected persons who remain in HIV care, achieve viral suppression, and receive prevention counseling requires additional effort.

Implications for Public Health Practice: Public health officials and HIV care providers should improve engagement at each step in the continuum of HIV care and monitor progress in every community using laboratory reports of viral load and CD4 test results.

The full report can be accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm60e1129a1.htm?s_cid=mm60e1129a1_e&source=govdelivery

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – November 29, 2011

CDC Research Abstract: HIV Risk, Prevention, and Testing Behaviors Among Men Who Have Sex With Men

Problem/Condition: Approximately 1.1 million persons in the United States are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. More than half of those infected are men who have sex with men (MSM).

Reporting Period: June – December 2008.

Results: This report summarizes data gathered from 8,175 MSM during the second data collection cycle of the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) System. In addition to having at least one male sex partner, 14% of participants had at least one female sex partner during the past 12 months. Unprotected anal intercourse with a male partner was reported by 54% of the participants; 37% reported having unprotected anal sex with a main male partner (someone with whom the participant had sex and to whom he felt most committed, such as a boyfriend, spouse, significant other, or life partner), and 25% reported having unprotected anal sex with a casual male partner (someone with whom the participant had sex but with whom he did not feel committed, did not know very well, or had sex with in exchange for something such as money or drugs). Noninjection drug use during the past 12 months was reported by 46% of participants. Specifically, 38% used marijuana, 18% cocaine, 13% poppers (amyl nitrate), and 11% ecstasy. Two percent of the participants reported injecting drugs for nonmedical purposes in the past 12 months. Of the participants surveyed, 90% had been tested for HIV during their lifetime, 62% had been tested during the past 12 months, 51% had received a hepatitis vaccination, 35% had been tested for syphilis during the past 12 months, and 18% had participated in an individual- or group-level HIV behavioral intervention.

Interpretation: MSM in the United States continue to engage in sexual and drug-use behaviors that increase the risk for HIV infection. Although many MSM had been tested for HIV infection, many had not received hepatitis vaccinations or syphilis testing, and only a small proportion had recently participated in a behavioral intervention.

Public Health Action: To reduce HIV infection among MSM, additional effort is needed to decrease the number of men who are engaging in risk behaviors while increasing the number who recently have been tested for HIV. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States delineates a coordinated response to reduce infections and HIV-related health disparities among MSM and other disproportionately affected groups. NHBS data can be used to monitor progress toward the goals of the national strategy and to guide national and local planning efforts to maximize the impact of HIV prevention programs.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6014a1.htm?s_cid=ss6014a1_e&source=govdelivery

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – October 28, 2011

Life Expectancy Keeps Rising for People With HIV, Particularly When They Start Treatment Early, Study Finds

The newest generations of antiretroviral drugs continue to improve the outlook for people newly diagnosed with HIV, according to a recent report. Those living with HIV can now expect to live longer and healthier than ever before, and there is new evidence to prove it — particularly for people who don’t wait too long before they begin treatment.

Research published in the British Medical Journal today shows that the average 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV can now expect to live to their mid-60s. The same person diagnosed in the mid-1990s had a life expectancy to age 50. That improvement is down to modern combination drugs that keep the virus in check.

http://www.thebody.com/content/64389/life-expectancy-keeps-rising-for-people-with-hiv-p.html?tw

Source: TheBody.com – October 14, 2011

EEOC Sues Capital Healthcare Solutions for Disability Discrimination – Health Care Staffing Firm Refused to Hire HIV-Positive Nursing Aide, Federal Agency Says

A leading national health care staffing firm violated federal law by withdrawing an offer of employment to a certified nursing assistant because she was HIV-positive, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced Oct. 5.

The EEOC charges that Pittsburgh-based Capital Healthcare Solutions, Inc. extended a job offer to an experienced certified nursing assistant but unlawfully rescinded the job offer less than one month later based on his disability. The job offer was conditioned on the nursing assistant passing a medical examination. In the medical form, his doctor noted that the certified nursing assistant was HIV-positive, but was not restricted from performing the required job tasks, so long as “universal precautions,” such as gloves and face masks, were used.

Even though the nursing assistant was well-qualified and able to perform the job, Capital Healthcare Solutions withdrew the job offer and refused to hire him because of his disability or because the company regarded him as disabled, the EEOC said in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 2:11-cv-01249.

Refusing to hire a qualified individual because of his disability, record of disability, or because the employer perceives a person as being disabled violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief barring the company from engaging in disability discrimination in hiring, and monetary relief, including back pay, compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the nursing assistant. The nursing assistant is also represented by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit, public-interest law firm providing free legal assistance to people with HIV/AIDS and those affected by the epidemic.

“President Barack Obama has charged federal agencies to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which includes addressing and preventing employment-related discrimination against people living with HIV,” said Philadelphia regional attorney Debra Lawrence. “This case serves as an example of how the EEOC will strongly enforce federal laws to ensure that qualified people are not wrongfully deprived of an opportunity to earn a living simply because of their HIV status.”

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/10-5-11a.cfm

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – October 5, 2011

Rep. Barbara Lee Introduces Bill to Fight Discrimination Against People Living with HIV

 On Sept. 23 Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced legislation to address the serious problem of discrimination in state criminal and civil laws against those who test positive for HIV.  The bill creates incentives and support for states to reform existing policies that use legal authority to target people living with HIV for felony charges and severe punishments for behavior that is otherwise legal or that poses no measurable risk of HIV transmission.

“Laws that place an additional burden on HIV-positive individuals because of their HIV status lag far behind the medical advances and scientific discoveries in the fight against the epidemic,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “Instead of progress against the disease and protection for people living with HIV/AIDS, criminalization laws breed fear, discrimination, distrust, and hatred.”
 
“Although our country has made notable advances in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, we have a long way to go,” continued Lee.  “The decriminalization of HIV/AIDS is one way we can reduce stigma in our communities, while fighting the epidemic in a rational, holistic, and truly rights-based fashion.”
 
The laws targeted by the legislation are those that are inconsistent with evidence-based initiatives and are at direct odds with U.S. public health goals and HIV prevention strategies and programs.  The bill requires federal and state officials to review federal and state laws and policies that involve criminal cases against people living with HIV/AIDS, and to provide support for education and reform initiatives. 

For additional information read the Housing Works blog at: http://www.housingworks.org/advocate/detail/rep.-lee-introduces-groundbreaking-anti-hiv-criminalization-bill

Source: Congresswoman Barbara Lee – September 23, 2011

New Multi-Year Data Show Annual HIV Infections in U.S. Relatively Stable

The CDC’s first multi-year estimates from its national HIV incidence surveillance find that overall, the annual number of new HIV infections in the US was relatively stable at approximately 50,000 new infections each year between 2006 and 2009.  However, HIV infections increased among young men who have sex with men (MSM) between 2006 and 2009, driven by alarming increases among young, black MSM – the only subpopulation to experience a sustained increase during the time period.

The new estimates were published August 3rd in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.  The incidence estimates are based on direct measurement of new HIV infections with a laboratory test that can distinguish recent from long-standing HIV infections.

“More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year.  Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing, and this increase is particularly concerning among young African American MSM ,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D.  “HIV infections can be prevented.  By getting tested, reducing risky behaviors, and getting treatment, people can protect themselves and their loved ones.”

According to the new estimates, there were 48,600 new HIV infections in the United States in 2006, 56,000 in 2007, 47,800 in 2008 and 48,100 in 2009.  The multi-year incidence estimates allow for a reliable examination of trends over time.  They reveal no statistically significant change in HIV incidence overall from 2006 to 2009, with an average of 50,000 for the four-year period.  In 2009, the largest number of new infections was among white MSM (11,400), followed closely by black MSM (10,800).  Hispanic MSM (6,000) and black women (5,400) were also heavily affected.

“While we’re encouraged that prevention efforts have helped avoid overall increases in HIV infections in the United States, and have significantly reduced new infections from the peak in the mid-1980s, we have plateaued at an unacceptably high level,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.  “Without intensified HIV prevention efforts, we are likely to face an era of rising infection rates and higher health care costs for a preventable condition that already affects more than one million people in this country.”

The press release can be accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/HIVIncidencePressRelease.html

For more information visit  www.cdc.gov/hiv.  To access the new CDC analysis in the journal PLoS One, visit http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0017502.

Note: See related article posted online by the New York Times at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/04/health/04hiv.html

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – August 3, 2011

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