Who is transmitting HIV?
It is estimated that roughly 90 percent of new HIV infections stem from transmissions from individuals who are infected by HIV but undiagnosed and from those individuals diagnosed with HIV who are not in medical care.
There are approximately 1.1 million people in the United States living with HIV, ~18 percent are undiagnosed, ~45% know they have HIV but are not in medical care, ~4 percent are in medical care but not on HIV meds, ~7 percent were on meds but not virally suppressed, and around 25 percent are on meds and virally suppressed aka “undetectable.” Remember, undetectable equals un-transmittable.
Lack of Testing
According to a study released in June 2019, less than 40 percent of Americans have ever been tested for HIV. Despite the CDC’s recommendation for universal screening for HIV at least once for people aged 13 to 64, many people are still not being tested. For those at risk (i.e. gay men, sex workers), the CDC recommends at least annual screening.
What can you do to make a difference?
- Go get tested! Encourage your friends and family members to get tested as well.
- If you are at risk of HIV infection, speak to your medical provider about getting on HIV PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV).
- If you are HIV positive, get established with a medical provider who can help you get started on meds. Even if you do not have insurance, there are plenty of resources available for you. Atlanta locals, check out AHF and AID Atlanta. You can also call your local health department for more info.
Jeremiah Robinson is a licensed and certified Physician Assistant at T. Douglas Gurley MD in Atlanta, GA.