Just 7 percent of American youths recently diagnosed with HIV achieved an undetectable viral load during a recent two-year study of more than 1,500 12-to-24-year-olds who were diagnosed with the virus between October 2012 and September 2014. Sixty-eight percent of the young people were promptly linked to HIV care; 54 percent visited a clinic within four months; 31 percent stayed in care; and just 7 percent achieved an undetectable viral load during the study.
In the effort to get young people on successful treatment, promptly connecting them to HIV care after diagnosis made a big difference. Compared with a more than three-month gap between diagnosis and referral to care, a gap of one to six weeks after diagnosis was associated with a 2.5-fold increased likelihood of achieving full viral suppression. A gap of six weeks to three months was associated with a two-fold increased likelihood of viral suppression.