HIV di­ag­no­sis rate fell by third in US over decade

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

NEW YORK (AP) — The rate of HIV in­fec­tions di­ag­nosed in the United States each year fell by one-third over the past decade, a govern­ment study finds. Ex­perts cel­e­brated it as hope­ful news that the AIDS epi­demic may be slow­ing in the U.S.

“It’s en­cour­ag­ing,” said Patrick Sul­li­van, an Emory Univer­sity AIDS re­searcher who was not in­volved in the study.

The rea­sons for the drop aren’t clear. It might mean fewer new in­fec­tions are oc­cur­ring. Or that most in­fected people al­ready have been di­ag­nosed so more test­ing won’t nec­es­sar­ily find many more cases.

“It could be we are ap­proach­ing some­thing of a ‘ceil­ing ef­fect,’” said one study leader, David Holt­grave of Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity.

The study was re­leased on­line Satur­day by the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. It is part of the jour­nal’s spe­cial re­port on HIV re­search, is­sued ahead of the In­ter­na­tional AIDS Con­fer­ence that starts Sun­day in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, which de­stroys the im­mune sys­tem. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion es­ti­mates 35 mil­lion people glob­ally have the virus. In the United States, 1.1 mil­lion people are thought to be in­fected, though many don’t know it.

The study is based on HIV di­ag­noses from all 50 states’ health de­part­ments, which get test re­sults from doc­tors’ of­fice, clin­ics, hos­pi­tals and lab­o­ra­to­ries.

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