- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Just 1 in 4 with HIV have infection under control
Question of the Day
ATLANTA (AP) — Only about 1 in 4 Americans with the AIDS virus have the infection under control with medications, federal health officials said Tuesday.
Part of the reason is that about 20 percent of those infected with HIV don't know it. People can have an infection for years without developing symptoms.
An infection was once a death sentence, but medications that have been available for 15 years can turn it into a manageable condition, allowing those infected to live longer and healthier lives.
However, in its first study of the issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only a small fraction of people are being treated successfully.
"The big picture is we could do a lot better than we're doing today," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the CDC's director.
Of the nearly 1.2 million people with HIV, only about 40 percent are getting HIV-fighting medications regularly. Worse, only 28 percent have gotten the virus to low levels in their blood.
That translates to roughly 850,000 Americans who don't have the virus controlled, Dr. Frieden said.
Success rates were lowest in blacks and women than in others, the CDC also found.
There are various reasons why more people aren't doing better, health officials said. Some were still early in their treatment, when the virus hadn't been beaten down to low levels yet. Some dropped routine care because of money or other obstacles. Some didn't stick with it for other, more personal reasons. And, in a small percentage of cases, the medicine may not have worked.
The HIV virus can cause AIDS, an illness that destroys the body's immune system and causes about 16,000 deaths annually. In the United States, the number of new infections each year has held steady in recent years, at about 50,000.
The CDC analysis was based on several sets of data, including surveys and surveillance reports from 2010 and a study that looked specifically at the medical care of people with HIV.
The good news is that once HIV-infected people get plugged into medical care, the drugs bring the virus under control nearly 80 percent of the time, health officials said.
But there are still not enough people being diagnosed, and there's a worrisome gap between those who are diagnosed and those who get in — and stay in — treatment, some experts said.
"It's not good enough to get them tested," said Dr. Diane Havlir, who runs the AIDS program at San Francisco General Hospital.
San Francisco has been unusually aggressive about closing that gap. Patients routinely are tested for HIV at emergency rooms, and everyone who is diagnosed with HIV is offered treatment. Elsewhere, medical treatment can be delayed until their immune system dips to a certain level.
On Tuesday, CDC also announced a $2.4 million campaign to encourage HIV testing. It's the government's first campaign aimed specifically at black gay and bisexual men, who account for nearly a quarter of all new HIV infections in the United States.
TWT Video Picks
By David Keene
Allowing states to innovate could reduce dependency on bureaucracy
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Border surge puts Obama legacy on immigration at stake
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- White House says Russia 'losing' war in Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq