Published 3:52 pm, Tuesday, November 12, 2013
A quarter century ago, when the AIDS epidemic was at its peak in the United States, HIV was the No. 1 killer of Americans ages 25 to 44. Now, with new treatment options, it's the sixth-leading cause of death for that group, and the number of new diagnoses each year is less than half of what it once was.
But, as a new report on AIDS in America points out, certain populations have not made as many gains over the disease.
The good news: The nation's AIDS awareness is high. About 82 percent of Americans who have HIV today have been formally diagnosed, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health research organization that published an analysis of AIDS in the United States this year.
Antiretroviral therapy drugs are very effective in stopping HIV progression and extending lives, but patients must take multiple pills at precise times each day and receive regular medical care. As a result, only 1 in 4 patients is adhering to a treatment regimen closely enough to suppress the virus.
Blacks and Latinos have rates of HIV diagnosis that far surpass rates among whites, and they are less likely to get the recommended treatment. Many Southern states and the District of Columbia have rates many times above the national average.
These numbers paint a picture of the United States' successes and challenges in the battle with AIDS.
The number of new HIV infections diagnosed each year in the United States. That number has remained relatively stable for the past decade. The first case of AIDS in this country was diagnosed in 1981, and by the late 1980s, diagnoses peaked at 130,000 a year.
The percentage of new HIV infections resulting from male-to-male sexual contact in 2010. Heterosexual contact is responsible for 25 percent of new diagnoses.
The percentage of new HIV infections in 2010 among women. Black women accounted for nearly two-thirds of those.
The rate of new HIV infections in black men and women was eight times higher than that of white men and women. The rate among Latinos was three times higher than among whites.
The percentage of the nation's 2011 HIV diagnoses that were in California. That year's 5,965 diagnoses were the most of any state. But California isn't in the nation's top 10 when it comes to HIV cases as a percentage of the state's population. Seven of the top 10 are in the South, and Washington, D.C., has the highest rate - 177.9 HIV cases for every 100,000 people, or nine times the national rate.
For the full Kaiser Family Foundation HIV/AIDS Report: http://bit.ly/175gsiI