HIV rates down 73% in 40 years, CDC finds

HIV infections in the U.S. are down significantly since the CDC reported the first case in 1981, though disparities persist, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published June 4. 

The agency used data from the National HIV Surveillance System to estimate the annual number of new infections among people aged 13 and older from 1981 to 2019. 

Four findings from the report: 

1. In 2019, about 1.2 million people in the U.S. were living with HIV. 

2. New infections have fallen from a peak of 130,400 in 1984-85 to 34,800 in 2019 — a  73% drop. 

3. In 2019, 41 percent of new HIV infections were among Black people, and 29 percent were among Hispanic people. 

4. Gay and bisexual men acccounted for 70 percent of new infections in 2019. 

"Ending the HIV epidemic requires addressing health disparities," the report said. "Equitable implementation of prevention tools to diagnose HIV infection early, treat persons with HIV to rapidly achieve viral suppression, and link persons to preventive services to reduce new transmissions will hasten the decrease in HIV incidence."

In a recent interview, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the nation's goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030 is still in reach, despite the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting progress.

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