IAS 2015Just 7 percent of American youths recently diagnosed with HIV achieved an undetectable viral load during a two-year study, the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP) reports. Researchers from the study of over 1,548 12-to-24-year-olds diagnosed between October 2012 and September 2014 presented their findings at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention in Vancouver, British Columbia.

A total of 1,053 (68 percent) of the young people were promptly linked to care (a clinic visit within 42 days of referral); 839 (54 percent) were engaged in care (at least 1 additional clinic visit within 16 weeks of linkage); 473 (31 percent) were retained in care (at least 1 visit within 52 weeks of being engaged in care); and just 11 (7 percent) reached an undetectable viral load during the study.

After accounting for various elements, the researchers estimated that receiving antiretroviral therapy during the period before a clinic visit was associated with a 3.1-fold increased likelihood of viral suppression. Having a lower viral load when linked to care was associated with a 1.56-fold increased likelihood of being virally suppressed for every 10-fold decrease in viral load. And compared with a more than three-month gap between diagnosis and referral to care, a gap of one to six weeks after diagnosis  was linked with a 2.52-fold increased likelihood of full viral suppression, and a six-week to three-month gap was associated with a 2.08-fold increased likelihood of full viral suppression.