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HIV infection rates drop, but miss Obama administration goals

The number of new HIV infections annually in the United States has dropped by an estimate 11 percent from 2010 to 2015, though it didn't fall enough to meet goals set by the Obama administration's 2010 comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy, new research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania.

The goals called for a 25 percent reduction in the incidence of HIV, which is now considered a manageable chronic disease though it disproportionately affects gay men, young and transgender people, and black and Hispanic Americans and those who live in the South.

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The goals also called for a 30 percent reduction in the rate of transmission, or the average annual number of disease transmissions per 100 people living with HIV. That rate fell by 17 percent in the same time period, according to the research published online in the journal AIDS and Behavior.

"The good news is that we appear to have made important strides in the prevention of HIV and the reduction of HIV transmission rates in the United States; unfortunately, these key gains only got us roughly halfway to the 2015 goal line," said David Holtgrave, chair of the Bloomberg School's department of health, behavior and society and the study's senior author.

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He said researchers had feared after the goals were announced that diagnostic, prevention and care services would not be expanded enough. "Our analysis suggests that is just what happened," he said.

The analysis found there were 33,218 new HIV infections around the nation in 2015, down from about 37,366 in 2010. The rate of transmission was about 2.61 in 2016 per 100 people living with HIV, down from 3.16, in the same time period.

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