Screen Readers Skip to Content

Only 30% of People with HIV Have the Virus in Check

Author: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Published: 25th Nov 2014 - Updated: 6th Nov 2017
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: HIV and Aids Publications

Summary: Just 30% of Americans with HIV had the virus under control in 2011, and approximately two-thirds of those whose virus was out of control had been diagnosed but were no longer in care.


Main Document

New Vital Signs report published today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new study underscores the importance of making sure people with HIV receive ongoing care, treatment, and other information and tools that help prevent transmission to others, as well as the need to reach more people with HIV testing. Among those whose infection was not under control, more than three times the proportion (66 percent) were no longer in care as had never been diagnosed (20 percent).

The HIV epidemic continues to threaten the health and well-being of many Americans - with more than one million people living with the disease in the U.S. and 50,000 new infections each year.

When used consistently, antiretroviral medication can keep HIV controlled at very low levels in the body (known as viral suppression), allowing people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives and reducing the likelihood they will transmit HIV to others. Treatment has been shown to reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 96 percent, and U.S. clinical guidelines now recommend that everyone diagnosed with HIV receive treatment, regardless of their CD4 cell count or viral load.

"For people living with HIV, it's not just about knowing you're infected - it's also about going to the doctor for medical care," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "And for health care facilities, it's not just about the patients in your care - it's every person diagnosed, and every person whose diagnosis has not yet been made. Key to controlling the nation's HIV epidemic is helping people with HIV get connected to - and stay in - care and treatment, to suppress the virus, live longer and help protect others."

The new study estimates that of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2011, 70 percent did not have their virus under control.

Among the nearly 840,000 people who had not achieved viral suppression:

The percentage of Americans with HIV who achieved viral suppression remained roughly stable (26 percent in 2009 vs. 30 percent in 2011).

CDC focus on stopping HIV transmission through treatment:

CDC has increased the focus on diagnosing people with HIV, supporting linkage to ongoing care and treatment, provision of risk reduction information, and increasing medication adherence. By making the most of these strategies for those who are HIV-positive, as well as other high impact strategies to protect those who remain uninfected but are at highest risk for HIV, CDC believes substantial progress can be made in reducing new infections.

"There is untapped potential to drive down the epidemic through improved testing and treatment, but we're missing too many opportunities," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. "Treatment is crucial. It is one of our most important strategies for stopping new HIV infections."

Current initiatives to promote HIV testing and treatment include innovative partnerships to make HIV testing simple, accessible and routine; programs to help health departments identify and reach out to infected individuals who have fallen out of care; and public awareness campaigns to urge testing and encourage people with HIV to seek ongoing care.

These efforts are an essential component of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, launched in 2010. Key goals of the strategy include reducing HIV incidence, increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes, and reducing HIV-related health disparities.

Younger adults with HIV least likely to have virus under control:

Today's study also found that viral suppression increased with age, with young people significantly less likely than older age groups to have their virus under control:

The researchers attribute the disparity in large part to the fact that fewer than half (49 percent) of 18 to 24 year olds with HIV have been diagnosed, underscoring the need for more HIV testing in this population.

"It's alarming that fewer than half of HIV-positive young adults know they are infected," said Eugene McCray, M.D., director of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. "Closing that gap could have a huge impact on controlling HIV - knowing your status is the first critical step toward taking care of your own health and avoiding transmission to others."

The study did not find statistically significant differences in viral suppression by race or ethnicity, sex, or risk group.

Post to Twitter Add to Facebook

Latest HIV and Aids Publications

The above information is from our reference library of resources relating to HIV and Aids that includes:

Rainbow-colored LGBT letters. thumbnail image
Online toolkit helps parents improve communication with gay and bisexual sons about behaviors to help them stay healthy.
Publish Date: 13th Nov 2022 - Updated: 5th Jan 2023
FDA Approves Trogarzo (ibalizumab-uiyk) for Patients with Limited HIV Treatment Options thumbnail image.
U.S. FDA approves Trogarzo for adult patients with HIV who have tried multiple medications and whose HIV infections cannot be treated with other therapies - multidrug resistant HIV, or MDR HIV.
Publish Date: 7th Mar 2018
Undetectable/Untransmittable: Gay - Bisexual Men Skeptical But Attitudes On The Rise thumbnail image.
Hunter CHEST study sought to examine how accurate gay and bisexual men perceive this message to be by surveying more than 12,000 men across the United States.
Publish Date: 16th Jan 2018
Transgender Women Take Triple the Number of HIV Tests As Trans Men thumbnail image.
Study revealed HIV testing among transgender adults was higher in those who identified as female, were African-American or Hispanic, or had a history of incarceration.
Publish Date: 1st Nov 2017


1How Many Genders Are There?
Alphabetical list of gender identities.

2Transgender Reporting Guide
How to write about transgender people.

3Glossary of Sexuality Terms
Definitions of sexual terms & acronyms.

4Glossary of Sexual Identities
Definitions of gender related terms.

5Am I Gay? Questions to Ask
Think you may be gay or bisexual?

• Submissions: Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.


• Report Errors: Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.



• (APA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2014, November 25). Only 30% of People with HIV Have the Virus in Check. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved May 27, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/health/hiv/230.php


• Permalink: <a href="https://www.sexualdiversity.org/sexuality/health/hiv/230.php">Only 30% of People with HIV Have the Virus in Check</a>