HIV cases have declined in recent years, largely due to fewer cases among young people, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Estimated annual infections were 12% lower in 2021 (32,100 cases) than in 2017 (36,500 cases), according to data released on Tuesday this week.
The largest decline was seen among 13-24 year olds, who saw a 34% decrease in new infections (6,100 in 2021, compared to 9,300 in 2017).
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This decline was primarily seen among gay and bisexual men, who account for 80% of HIV infections in this age group, the CDC noted. This group scored 4,900 infections in 2021, compared to 7,400 in 2017.
CDC recognizes progress and calls for more effort
“Our nation’s HIV prevention efforts continue to move in the right direction,” said Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, director of the CDC in Washington, D.C.in a statement posted on the agency’s website.
“Long-standing factors, such as systemic inequalities, social and economic marginalization and residential segregation, however, stand between highly effective HIV treatment and prevention and the people who could benefit from it,” she said. for follow-up.
“Efforts must be accelerated and strengthened to ensure that progress reaches all groups more quickly and equitably.”
“The declining incidence of HIV among young people, including young gay and bisexual men, shows us what is possible.”
The CDC credits expanding access to HIV testing, treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with advancing the prevention of HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men.
(PrEP is a prescription drug that can reduce the risk of getting HIV through sex or injection drug use.)
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Knowledge of HIV infections increased from 42% to 56%, while PrEP prescriptions increased from 8% to 20%.
Despite the overall progress that has been made, these data indicate that progress has not been equitable across all groups.
“There is increased awareness of HIV status and the use of PrEP, but it is not widespread,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor.
“Racial disparities persist, with a much higher incidence among the black and Latino population, as does poverty and distrust of the medical establishment in minority communities,” Dr. Siegel also told Fox News Digital.
Compared to young white gay and bisexual men, the drop in HIV infections was smaller among young black and Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, according to CDC data.
Among the white men in the group, there was a 45% decrease in infections.
“The ignorance and stigma that have characterized this disease continue to stand in the way.”
The decline was 36% for Hispanic/Latino men and only 27% for black men.
When it comes to data on PrEP, only 11% of eligible blacks received a prescription, compared to 21% of Hispanics/Latinos and 78% of whites.
Of the new infections in 2021, the majority were among black gay and bisexual men and Hispanic/Latino men, followed by white men.
Even among the smallest subset of infected women, more than half were black, the data shows.
Despite the overall decline, Dr. Robyn Neblett Fanfair, acting director of the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention, said at least three people in the United States are still getting HIV every hour, even with the prevalence of prevention and treatment options.
“These tools need to reach deep into communities and be delivered faster to scale progress from some groups to all groups,” Fanfair, based in Atlanta, Georgia, said in the CDC statement.
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To do this, Fanfair called for increased investment in HIV prevention programs, expanding the availability of self-testing, and bringing HIV prevention interventions to those most affected by the virus.
“The decline in HIV incidence among young people, including young gay and bisexual men, shows us what is possible,” said Dr Jonathan Mermin, director of the National Center for the Prevention of HIV, Hepatitis Viral, STD and Tuberculosis CDC, in a statement about the agency. website.
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“But to end the HIV epidemic and achieve equity, we must extend this progress to all.”
Dr. Siegel added to Fox News Digital: “HIV can be brought under control through education, testing and PrEP, but the ignorance and stigma that have always characterized this disease unfortunately continue to stand in the way.