The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has projected that fully achieving the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) goals for expanded HIV testing and treatment and expanding the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) could reduce new HIV infections by 70 percent in five years. Researchers at the CDC used a forecasting model to predict how well each of these strategies would reduce the spread of the virus. Findings were presented at the 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.

One NHAS goal is to get 80 percent of Americans living with HIV on treatment for the virus and to full viral suppression, which research suggests makes the likelihood of transmitting the virus extremely small, if not impossible. The CDC points to an oft-cited estimate that less than a third of HIV-positive Americans have a fully suppressed virus, although other researchers believe this figure may be an underestimate.

Reaching an overall viral suppression rate of 80 percent, the CDC projects, would prevent 168,000 infections in five years. Expanding the use of Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) as PrEP among those at high risk of the virus—the CDC previously estimated the overall high-risk population includes 1.2 million Americans—could prevent an additional 17,000 new HIV cases during the same period.

If current levels of viral suppression remain constant, expanded PrEP among high-risk individuals could prevent more than 48,000 new infections in five years, cutting the new case rate by 20 percent.

To read the report, click here.