The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that of the 1.1 million U.S. residents living with HIV in 2014, 85 percent were diagnosed, 62 percent had been linked to medical care, 48 percent were retained in regular medical care and 49 percent had an undetectable viral load (also known as full viral suppression).
The previous CDC estimate, based on 2011 data, figured that 86 percent of people with HIV were diagnosed and 30 percent were undetectable at that time.
Because the 2014 and 2011 estimates relied on different mathematical methods, comparing them is tricky. Nevertheless, recent CDC research has suggested that the national rate of undetectability has been rising of late. Owing to the fact that successful HIV treatment prevents transmission, CDC officials believe that the estimated 18 percent decline in new annual infections between 2008 and 2014 was driven in part by a greater proportion of people living with the virus getting on successful treatment.
“These important milestones in diagnosing HIV and in helping people who are living with HIV achieve viral suppression provide further evidence that our nation’s prevention efforts are paying off,” says John T. Brooks, MD, senior medical adviser at the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “We must continue making progress, however, because annual infections remain too high, and not everyone is benefiting equally from improved access to testing and treatment.”
Indeed, in 2014, only an estimated 56 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds living with the virus in the United States were diagnosed, and a mere 27 percent were undetectable. The viral suppression rate that year was an estimated 57 percent among whites, 48 percent among Latinos and 43 percent among Blacks living with HIV.