Researchers highlight more than 30% decrease in HIV diagnosis rates

CHICAGO — The annual rate of HIV diagnoses dropped by 33% between 2002 and 2011, according to a research letter in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers drew on data from legally mandated HIV screenings on individuals older than 13 from 2002 to 2011 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Over the years that the researchers looked at, the number of people diagnosed with HIV per 100,000 went from 35.8 to 26.1 in men and from 13 to 6.9 in women—decreases of 27% and 49%, respectively.  The diagnosis also decreased overall for most races and ethnicities—the largest decrease was among Hispanics of any race, with a 41% decrease overall.

There was a 34% decline among cases of HIV contracted from heterosexual contact. However, among cases of HIV attributed to male-to-male sexual contact, there were increased diagnoses within several demographics. The largest increase (132.5%) was among 13- to 24-year-old men who have sex with men.

There were also increased diagnoses among men in that group over 45 years of age, though not one as marked as among the youngest demographic. The increase, though, might be due to the number of 13- to 24-year-olds (typically at high risk) getting tested during this time.

“Although increases in diagnoses were found in young men who have sex with men, reports show that many at high risk do not test annually and the overall percentage of youth who had ever tested for HIV during the period of analysis was low compared with other age groups,” the letter said.

Additionally, HIV contraction through injection drug use was down 70% during the period researchers looked at. 

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