According to the most recent statistics at www.aids.gov, 36.7 million people worldwide live with HIV/Stage 3 (AIDS). In the US, more than 1.2 million people are infected, but approximately one out of every eight people (approximately 13%) are unaware of their infection.
Incidence of Diagnosis
The fall in new HIV diagnoses over the last decade indicates that prevention strategies are effective. Between 2005 and 2014, new diagnoses fell 19%. However, the decrease in new infections is not evenly shared throughout the population. Certain groups are still experiencing higher than average incidences of HIV infection, including young African American and Latino gay men.
Medical Research and Developments
Innovative drug therapies are proving effective in prevention and improving prognosis for those with the infection. While there is still no cure for HIV, combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART), the treatment paradigm established in the late 1990s, is helping people enjoy more active and normal lives longer as well as helping to prevent the spread of disease to new partners. Researchers continue to explore preventative vaccines and continually test current treatment protocols to improve patient outcomes.
Our Work Continues
Although there is reason for cautious optimism in North America, the prognosis is not so hopeful in other parts of the world. HIV prevention programs need to be continued and, in some developing communities, implemented or ramped up. Even in the US, prevention and patient education efforts need to be more aggressive to target high-risk populations.