80% of HIV infections in the United States are caused by people who are unaware that they are HIV-positive


80% of HIV infections in the United States are caused by people who are unaware that they are HIV-positive, or by patients who know their status but are not receiving any treatment.

This an implacable and disturbing figure is highlighted by a new study of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on 2016 data. Commissioned by the government of Donald Trump, the study estimates in detail that 38% of infections come from HIV-positive people who are unaware of their status, and 43% come from people who know their status but are not receiving treatment for HIV.

As for the 20% of the remaining contaminations, they concern people treated but in whom the virus still remains present in their organism at a detectable level. According to the study, it is mainly financial or social reasons that prevent them from complying with their antiretroviral treatment. For example, the gross cost of Trogarzo, a drug that arrived in the US market in the spring of 2018, is estimated at $ 118,000 a year.

However, when taken regularly, anti-HIV treatments are effective: the study estimates that half a million people treated with the anti-viral load became undetectable, half of all people with HIV in the United States. These are not the source of any new contamination.

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The study also highlights the group most at risk. According to the figures, these are homosexuals, who represent more than half of the country’s HIV-positive population. Three-quarters of new infections are due to sex between men. 5% of infections are due to the use of drug syringes by male homosexuals. 10% of infections are due to injection of drugs and 12% concern heterosexuals. The infection rate is higher among young people, especially 13-24 year olds.

These new data on HIV infections do not happen by chance. They are even an integral part of Donald Trump’s recently announced policy to end the HIV / AIDS epidemic within the next 10 years in the country.

In fact, last February, in his annual speech to Congress, the US president proposed a new investment of $ 291 million for the next budget year to stop the epidemic. Since 2013, the number of patients has stagnated, with 39,000 new infections per year. “My budget will require Democrats and Republicans to make the necessary efforts to eradicate the HIV epidemic in the United States within the next 10 years, and together we will defeat AIDS in America and beyond,” Donald Trump said.

To do this, the President’s strategy has two focuses: first to improve screening, especially among at-risk populations, but also to help patients to receive appropriate treatment as soon as the test results come in. For this reason, according to the authors of the study, it is necessary to strengthen the federal HIV / AIDS program “Ryan White”, intended for the poor or uninsured patients.

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Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.