MSNBC: Few Americans with HIV have virus under control

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Tom Dempsey

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Nov 29, 2011, 11:12:57 PM11/29/11
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Few Americans with HIV have virus under control


msnbc.com news services
updated 11/29/2011 4:59:08 PM ET

It follows new global AIDS priorities set by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton focused on HIV-fighting drugs as a way of preventing new infections that could bring the goal of "an AIDS-free generation" within reach.ATLANTA — Only 28 percent of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV have the infection under control, increasing the risk that they will spread the disease to others, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

"It's now very clear that we have the tools to stop HIV in an individual and to stop the spread of HIV in a community," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a telephone interview.A big part of the problem is that one in five U.S. adults infected with HIV do not know it. People can be infected with the AIDS virus for years without developing symptoms. Of those who are aware, only half receive ongoing medical care and treatment, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest report on HIV in America.

"We also know that taking treatment for HIV can prevent people from progressing to AIDS and from developing many of the serious complications of HIV, which unfortunately does remain an incurable infection," Frieden said.

Medications that have been available for 15 years can reduce the amount of virus to low levels. Recent studies have shown that suppressing the virus through treatment reduces the spread of HIV to partners by as much as 96 percent.

CDC's report, released Tuesday ahead of World AIDS day on December 1, focuses on increasing rates of HIV testing and treatment.


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