HIV Transmission Rate Slowing in United States

Latest data released by researchers at John Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that there is a significant decrease of HIV transmission rates in the United States.

Twenty-four years ago, during the peak of AIDS epidemic, as many as 130,400 people contracted the HIV virus while 44 out of every 100 HIV-positive people transferred the virus to someone else. Today, only 5 out of every 100 people with HIV would infect others.

Experts believe that the decrease in HIV transmission is credited to programs that promote safe sex and needle use. However, they worry that gains in combating the disease could be undermined because of the decline in funding for HIV/ AIDS prevention.

The Kaiser Family Foundation states that only four percent of the country’s $23 billion spending on AIDS goes to U.S. HIV/ AIDS prevention efforts, while the remaining amount goes to research, treatment, and international programs. However, a CDC representative sounded a note of caution.

"Despite its success, we can’t forget that new HIV infections are increasing among gay and bisexual men and that African Americans and Hispanics continue to experience disproportionate and unacceptable high rates of HIV and AIDS," said Richard Wolitski, acting director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/ AIDS Prevention and co-author of the research letter. The study was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

The research letter also provides a reminder of the human toll of HIV infections. About 1.1 million Americans have HIV or full-blown AIDS, which increases the risk of transmission, while 55,000 Americans become newly-infected with the virus every year.

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