Younger HIV patients may be less aware of status

Among people with HIV, those younger than 45 are less likely than others to be aware of their infection or to have a suppressed viral load, according to a study.

Early diagnosis, prompt and sustained care, and antiretroviral therapy are associated with reduced morbidity, mortality and further transmission of the virus, according to background information in the study, which appeared June 17 on the website of JAMA Internal Medicine.

H. Irene Hall, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues examined data from the National HIV Surveillance System. They found that of the more than 1.1 million people estimated to be living with HIV in 2009, nearly 81.9% had been diagnosed, 65.8% were linked to care and 36.7% were retained in care, 32.7% were prescribed ART and 25.3% had a suppressed viral load.

Among people infected with HIV who were ages 13 to 24, 40.5% had received a diagnosis and 30.6% were linked to care. Lower percentages of people ages 25 to 44 were retained in care, were prescribed ART and had a suppressed viral load than were people ages 55 to 64.

For example, among patients ages 25 to 34, 28% were in care, compared with 46% among patients ages 55 to 64, according to the data.

Overall, 857,276 patients with HIV had not achieved viral suppression, including 74.8% of male patients, 79% of black patients, 73.9% of Hispanic/Latino patients and 70.3% of white patients, the results also showed.

“Individuals, healthcare providers, health departments and government agencies must all work together to increase the numbers of people living with HIV who are aware of their status, linked to and retained in care, receiving treatment and adherent to treatment,” the authors wrote.

Read the study abstract:

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