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Fewer Poz People?

By on July 26, 2014
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Fewer people in all U.S. groups tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus except for gay and bisexual men ages 13 to 24 and over 45, they wrote in a special issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Among men who have sex with men, unprotected risk behaviors in the presence of high prevalence and unsuppressed viral load may continue to drive HIV transmission,” the report said.

From 2002 to 2011, 493,372 people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States, researchers said, citing data from the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The diagnosis rate fell to 16.1 per 100,000 people in 2011 from 24.1 in 2002, the researchers wrote in the issue, published to coincide with an international AIDS meeting in Melbourne,Australia.

But this news has some skeptics asking about potential high risk populations that are notoriously under-tested in the United States. For example, with the highest incarceration rate of any industrialized nation, federal and state prison systems are often inconsistent when testing for HIV among inmates – often for political and/or moral reasons at the root. Additionally, many jurisdictions with high rates of STI’s and teen pregnancy often neglect to test sexually active minors. There are real questions to be asked and answered about the ‘saturation point’ when it comes to HIV testing and truly if infection rates are declining in America.

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The U.S. drop is in line with a global downturn in the epidemic of AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The United Nations said recently that there were 2.1 million new HIV infections worldwide in 2013, down 38 percent from 2001.

The U.S. decline followed increased emphasis on care and treatment for people with HIV, including use of antiretroviral therapy, the report said.

The researchers were headed by Anna Satcher Johnson, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has reported that 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and 18 percent are unaware of their infections.