March 28th, 2011 | Published in HIV Information
HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, is a major point of concern to public health officials throughout the United States. While HIV prevalence has declined for several at-risk groups in recent years, including intravenous drug users, the problem of HIV continues to plague the nation despite an increased availability of HIV testing.
HIV Prevalence Among Women
The U.S. CDC reports that females account for approximately 27 percent of annual new HIV infections. Those at risk include women who have sex with other women as well as heterosexual females. While females aged 15 to 24 are said to be at an increased risk for contracting infections such as Chlamydia and HPV due to their anatomical makeup, they are not necessarily more likely to end up contracting HIV. In fact, women aged 25 to 49 showed higher incidents of infection in 2008 than females aged 15 to 24.
HIV Prevalence In Men Who Have Sex With Men
HIV prevalence rates in men who have sex with men (MSM) are higher than all other at-risk groups. MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year. In 2008, an estimated 22,469 cases of HIV were reported among MSM. Compared to the 13,180 cases resulting from heterosexual transmission, such HIV prevalence rates are rather alarming. It's also important to note that MSM are the only at-risk group in the U.S. in which HIV prevalence hasn't declined in recent years. Whereas HIV prevalence among heterosexuals and IV drug users has decreased over the past decade, men who have sex with men have been increasingly contracting HIV since the early 1990s.
People Living with HIV AIDS
Though there are people living with HIV AIDS all throughout the country, HIV prevalence is higher in certain major U.S. cities. These include:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Washington DC
HIV Prevalence By Age
According to CDC reports, HIV prevalence in 2008 was highest among individuals in the 40 to 44 year old age bracket. Whereas those between the ages of 15 and 24 had higher instances of herpes and Chlamydial infection, the 25 to 49 age group accounted for approximately two-thirds of all new HIV cases that same year.
Preventing the Spread of HIV
Safe sexual practices combined with regular HIV testing can help halt HIV transmission among those at risk. Since HIV does not always produce notable side effects in those infected, relying on an absence of symptoms is not an effective method of prevention. Additionally, it’s important to note that those with undiagnosed HIV are at risk for developing AIDS if appropriate treatment isn’t rendered. Left undetected, HIV can progress to AIDS, at which point the immune system could become permanently compromised. Projected HIV survival rates are significantly higher for those who undergo antiretroviral treatment for HIV as compared to those who live with the disease unknowingly.