HIV, AIDS remain problem, despite progress
By Samantha Friar
Jan. 29, 2018 at 4:51 p.m.
Updated Jan. 29, 2018 at 4:59 p.m.
HIV and AIDS remain a persistent problem for the United States and countries around the world.
While great progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, there is still much to do.
The information below provides a broad overview of the effects of HIV and AIDS in the United States and globally.
In 2014, there were an estimated 37,600 new HIV infections - down from 45,700 in 2008. HIV infections indicate the estimated number of new infections in a given year, regardless of when those infections were diagnosed.
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men bear the greatest burden by risk group, representing an estimated 26,200 of these new HIV infections.
In 2016, 39,782 people received an HIV diagnosis. The annual number of new diagnoses declined by 5 percent from 2011 to 2015.
An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of 2015, the most recent year for which this information is available. Of those people, about 15 percent, or 1 in 7, did not know they were infected.
The Center for Disease Control estimates the number of people living with HIV by using a scientific model. This model helps CDC estimate the number of new HIV infections and how many people are infected but don't know it. HIV prevalence is the number of people living with HIV infection at a given time, such as at the end of a given year.
If we look at HIV infections by transmission category, we see that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are most at risk. In 2014, gay and bisexual men accounted for 70 percent of all new HIV infections. In the same year, people infected through heterosexual sex made up 23 percent of all new HIV infections. In 2016, gay and bisexual men accounted for 67 percent of all HIV diagnoses. In the same year, people infected through heterosexual sex made up 24 percent of all HIV diagnoses.
If we look at HIV diagnoses by race and ethnicity, we see that African-Americans are most affected by HIV. In 2016, African-Americans made up only 12 percent - this does not include black/African Americans who are Hispanic - of the U.S. population but had 44 percent of all new HIV diagnoses.
Additionally, Hispanic/Latinos - who can be of any race- are also strongly affected. They made up 18 percent of the U.S. population but had 25 percent of all new HIV diagnoses.
The most affected subpopulation is African-American gay and bisexual men.
There are also variations by age. Young people aged 13-24 are especially affected by HIV. In 2015, they comprised 16 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 22 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. All young people are not equally at risk, however. Young gay and bisexual men accounted for 84 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in people aged 13-24 in 2015, and young, African-American gay and bisexual men are even more severely affected.
In the United States, 6,721 people died from HIV and AIDS in 2014. HIV remains a significant cause of death for certain populations. In 2014, it was the eighth leading cause of death for those aged 25-34 and ninth for those aged 35-44.
HIV is largely an urban disease, with most cases occurring in metropolitan areas with 500,000 or more people. The South has the highest number of people living with HIV, but if population size is taken into account, the Northeast has the highest rate of people living with HIV. Rates are the number of cases of disease per 100,000 people. Rates allow comparisons between groups of different sizes.
HIV disease continues to be a serious health issue for parts of the world. Worldwide, there were about 1.8 million new cases of HIV in 2016. About 36.7 million people were living with HIV around the world in 2016, and 19.5 million of them were receiving medicines to treat HIV, called antiretroviral therapy.
An estimated 1 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2016. Sub-Saharan Africa, which bears the heaviest burden of HIV and AIDS worldwide, accounts for about 64 percent of all new HIV infections. Other regions significantly affected by HIV and AIDS include Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Samantha Friar is the Victoria County Public Health Department HIV AIDS Response Program manager.