Diagnosis and Treatment of HIV Affect Its Distribution

Scientists believe that diagnosis and treatment of HIV affect its distribution.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine concludes that improved health care coverage, particularly for HIV-infected people who have not been diagnosed and are not receiving antiretroviral therapy, will have a significant impact on the transmission of HIV infection.

Researchers, using a national database, found that in the US more than 1.1 million people are living with HIV. There are 207,600 people (18.1%) who are infected but not diagnosed, 519,414 patients (45.2%) who did not receive medical care and 47,453 people (4.1%) who did not receive antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The study showed that HIV infected people who were not diagnosed, as well as those diagnosed with HIV who did not receive medical care account for almost 92%. The people who were diagnosed but did not receive medical treatment were 19% less likely to transmit HIV than those who had not been diagnosed.

The authors of the study also found that the risk of HIV transmission was greater in the following groups: men who have sex with men (MSM) and people aged 35 to 44.

Thomas Giordano suggests to have additional HIV testing, i.e. to conduct universal screening of all adults and adolescents in ordinary hospitals. "Even simple approaches to patient care can improve the retention of HIV-infected people in the health care programs," Giordano says. "Help must be efficient, polite, patient-centered and in a cozy environment."

For more information: 
Skarbinski, Jacek; Rosenberg, Eli; Paz-Bailey, Gabriela; Hall, H. Irene; Rose, Charles E. et al. (2015) Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission at Each Step of the Care Continuum in the United States // JAMA Internal Medicine