More than 700,000 of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States are undiagnosed or not receiving care, a population responsible for 91.5% of the transmissions of the infection in 2009, researchers reported Monday.
Diagnosing even some of those people, starting them on antiretroviral drugs and keeping them in treatment could have a large and immediate impact on transmission of the virus, according to the paper, published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
"If all the people with HIV who either don't know they have the virus or are not receiving HIV clinical services were receiving care and treatment, we could expect a 90 percent reduction in new HIV infections in the United States," Jonathan Mermin, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and one of the authors of the study, wrote in an e-mail. "That is a goal worth striving for."
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