Although we are gathering this week with our family and friends to give thanks for all the good things we have in our lives, we cannot ever forget that HIV/AIDS is still among us. December 1 is World AIDS Day, an opportunity for people to work actively and collaboratively with partners around the world to raise awareness about HIV and help us move closer to the goal of an AIDS-free generation. This year’s theme, “The Time to Act Is Now,” calls us to act with urgency to implement the latest high-impact, evidence-based HIV prevention strategies.
An estimated 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS worldwide. As a science-based public health and disease prevention agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides support that helps more than 60 countries strengthen their national HIV/AIDS programs and build sustainable public health systems. The CDC conducts these activities through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) , the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease.
Recent scientific breakthroughs now point the way to achieving an AIDS-free generation, a goal championed by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union address. CDC, through PEPFAR, is working to achieve that inspiring goal through proven science, smart investments, and shared responsibility with partner countries. Global efforts have resulted in approximately 13.5 million persons in low-income and middle-income countries receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV infection in 2014, an increase from 2013. Globally, more than 15 million people are on ART.
New HIV infections have fallen 35 percent since 2000, with 66 percent of the 2 million new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan African countries, where women account for more than half the total number of those living with HIV.
The CDC’s global HIV/AIDS activities are grounded in science and are critical to saving lives and preventing new infections. Core activities focus on:
- Providing proven combination prevention interventions, including prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, antiretroviral treatment, and voluntary medical male circumcision.
- Reaching orphans and vulnerable children, as well as other neglected and hard-to-reach populations.
- Building and enhancing health systems, including sustainable human resources for health (e.g., health care workers) and accurate, reliable laboratory systems.
- CDC’s innovative programs are helping countries collect and use more detailed data to target HIV treatment services to where they are needed most and to reduce the cost of delivering services. These activities also support greater accountability and transparency in the use of U.S. government funds. CDC works with key partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria —to which the United States is the largest contributor—to ensure complementary programming for maximum impact of investments.
THE CDC HAS CONTRIBUTED TO SAVING MILLIONS OF LIVES THROUGH PEPFAR. Across the globe, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. The increased life expectancies of people in their most productive years have helped build more secure families and bolstered fragile nations devastated by the HIV epidemic. New pediatric HIV infections have dropped by 58 percent since 2000. Worldwide, 220,000 children became newly infected with HIV in 2014, down from 520,000 in 2000. This significant achievement is due largely to evidence-based programming to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Still, millions of people around the globe are waiting for access to lifesaving antiretroviral drugs.
The United States has made an unwavering commitment to work with partner governments and other stakeholders to turn the tide on HIV/AIDS. The goal of achieving an AIDS-free generation worldwide is a shared responsibility, with partner countries in the central role.
HIV in the United States
- More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost 1 in 8 (12.8%) are unaware of their infection.
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV.
- By race, blacks/African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV.
This year, the White House updated the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to 2020. On World AIDS Day, it will release a federal action plan to implement the strategy. The CDC supports the strategy’s vision of a nation where new HIV infections are rare. CDC’s HIV prevention efforts in the United States target the populations most at risk and include:
- Providing funding and technical assistance for health departments.
- Conducting surveillance and behavioral research.
- Developing guidelines for HIV treatment, surveillance, and laboratory procedures.
- Evaluating programs.
- Conducting outreach and communication campaigns through the Act Against AIDS initiative, including the campaign Let’s Stop HIV Together, which fights stigma and seeks to ensure that all Americans know the facts about HIV. Let’s Stop HIV Together includes many personal stories about living with HIV.
- Providing training in HIV prevention and treatment.
Also, The CDC, along with other agencies and organizations, will convene the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference, December 6-9, 2015. This conference will facilitate collaboration among scientists, health care providers, community workers, and others who are working to stop the spread of HIV in the United States.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1,218,400 persons aged 13 years and older are living with HIV infection, including 156,300 (12.8%) who are unaware of their infection. Over the past decade, the number of people living with HIV has increased, while the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. Still, the pace of new infections continues at far too high a level—particularly among certain groups.
HIV INCIDENCE (NEW INFECTIONS): The estimated incidence of HIV has remained stable overall in recent years, at about 50,000 new HIV infections per year. Within the overall estimates, however, some groups are affected more than others. MSM continue to bear the greatest burden of HIV infection, and among races/ethnicities, African Americans continue to be disproportionately affected.
HIV DIAGNOSES (NEW DIAGNOSES, REGARDLESS OF WHEN INFECTION OCCURRED OR STAGE OF DISEASE AT DIAGNOSIS): In 2013, an estimated 47,352 people were diagnosed with HIV infection in the United States. In that same year, an estimated 26,688 people were diagnosed with AIDS. Overall, an estimated 1,194,039 people in the United States have been diagnosed with AIDS.
DEATHS: An estimated 13,712 people with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2012, and approximately 658,507 people in the United States with an AIDS diagnosis have died overall. The deaths of persons with an AIDS diagnosis can be due to any cause—that is, the death may or may not be related to AIDS.
Source: CDC. Estimated HIV incidence among adults and adolescents in the United States, 2007–2010. HIV. Surveillance Supplemental Report 2012;17(4). Subpopulations representing 2% or less are not reflected in this chart. Abbreviations: MSM, men who have sex with men; IDU, injection drug user. *Subpopulations representing 2% or less are not reflected in this chart. Abbreviations: MSM, men who have sex with men; IDU, injection drug user.
GAY, BISEXUAL, AND OTHER MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM)**** OF ALL RACES AND ETHNICITIES REMAIN THE POPULATION MOST PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED BY HIV. In 2010, the estimated number of new HIV infections among MSM was 29,800, a significant 12% increase from the 26,700 new infections among MSM in 2008. Although MSM represent about 4% of the male population in the United States, in 2010, MSM accounted for 78% of new HIV infections among males and 63% of all new infections. MSM accounted for 54% of all people living with HIV infection in 2011, the most recent year these data are available.
In 2010, white MSM continued to account for the largest number of new HIV infections (11,200), by transmission category, followed closely by black MSM (10,600).
The estimated number of new HIV infections was greatest among MSM in the youngest age group. In 2010, the greatest number of new HIV infections (4,800) among MSM occurred in young black/African American MSM aged 13–24. Young black MSM accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among black MSM and 55% of new HIV infections among young MSM overall. Since the epidemic began, an estimated 311,087 MSM with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including an estimated 5,380 in 2012.
HETEROSEXUALS AND INJECTION DRUG USERS ALSO CONTINUE TO BE AFFECTED BY HIV. Since the epidemic began, almost 92,613 persons with AIDS that were infected through heterosexual sex, have died, including an estimated 4,550 in 2012.
New HIV infections among women are primarily attributed to heterosexual contact (84% in 2010) or injection drug use (16% in 2010). Women accounted for 20% of estimated new HIV infections in 2010 and 23% of those living with HIV infection in 2011. The 9,500 new infections among women in 2010 reflect a significant 21% decrease from the 12,000 new infections that occurred among this group in 2008.
INJECTION DRUG USERS represented 8% of new HIV infections in 2010 and 15% of those living with HIV in 2011. Since the epidemic began, nearly 186,728 people with (AIDS) who inject drugs have died, including an estimated 3,514 in 2012.
BLACKS/AFRICAN AMERICANS CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE THE MOST SEVERE BURDEN OF HIV, compared with other races and ethnicities. Blacks represent approximately 12% of the U.S. population, but accounted for an estimated 44% of new HIV infections in 2010. They also accounted for 41% of people living with HIV infection in 2011. Since the epidemic began, an estimated 270,726 blacks with AIDS have died, including an estimated 6,540 in 2012.
HISPANICS/LATINOS ARE ALSO DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY HIV. Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the population but accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 2010. Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 20% of people living with HIV infection in 2011. Disparities persist in the estimated rate of new HIV infections in Hispanics/Latinos. In 2010, the rate of new HIV infections for Latino males was 2.9 times that for white males, and the rate of new infections for Latinas was 4.2 times that for white females. Since the epidemic began, more than 100,888 Hispanics/Latinos with an AIDS diagnosis have died, including 2,155 in 2012.
****For assessing disease risk, the term MSM is often used instead of gay, homosexual, or bisexual because it refers to a risk behavior, rather than an identity that may or may not be tied to a behavior. National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
Things You Can Do To Commemorate World AIDS Day, December 1
GET THE FACTS. Learn the basics about HIV and AIDS, how it is transmitted, and how to prevent HIV. Today, more tools than ever are available to prevent HIV. In addition to limiting your number of sexual partners, never sharing needles, and using condoms correctly and consistently, you may be able to take advantage of medicines that prevent and treat HIV, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and antiretroviral therapy (ART).
GET TESTED. Getting an HIV test is the only way to know if you have HIV. Learn the basics about HIV testing, including the types of tests available. • Find a testing center in your area at CDC’s new website https://gettested.cdc.gov/, text your ZIP code to “KNOW IT” (566948) or call 1-800-CDC-INFO • Talk to your doctor or health care provider • Take a home HIV test.
GET INVOLVED. • Follow CDC’s Act Against AIDS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TalkHIV • Help get #WAD2015 trending on Facebook and Twitter by sharing and re-tweeting Awareness Day messages, or creating your own. Here are some sample posts you can use leading up to and on #WAD2015 (World AIDS Day 2015)
Facebook: December 1st is World AIDS Day. When you know your #HIV status, you can protect yourself and your partner. Find a testing location near you. https://gettested.cdc.gov/ #WAD2015 º More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Have you been tested for HIV? Find a testing location near you. https://gettested.cdc.gov/ #WAD2015
1 week till #WAD2015 Get the facts. Get tested. Get involved. º It’s #WAD2015 Get tested. https://gettested.cdc.gov/ If you have #HIV, get treated. º There is no cure for #HIV, but there are more ways to prevent it than ever. Learn more about PrEP. #WAD2015 http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html