New HIV infections in US hold steady at 50,000

August 3, 2011

(AP) -- The number of Americans infected with the AIDS virus each year has been holding steady at about 50,000, according to a government report released Wednesday.

For many years, U.S. health officials put the annual number of new HIV infections at 40,000. But three years ago, they said their estimate had been too low. Using new methods and a better blood test, the revised their estimate higher, to roughly 56,300 new infections in 2006.

The latest CDC report used the new methods to look at trends over four years, and found that there were about 50,000 new infections each year from 2006-2009.

Gay and bisexual men account for the majority of the new cases - nearly two-thirds in 2009. The only increase over the four years was in young gay and , driven by a 48 percent increase among blacks ages 13 to 29.

The annual number of new infections peaked at 130,000 in the mid-1980s, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, the AIDS prevention chief for the CDC. He said the report presented a mixed picture. While new infections have plateaued, "stability is not acceptable" and the increase in young men is worrisome, he said.

The CDC report was published Wednesday in the journal . The figures were calculated from data from 16 states and two cities. Estimating new infections is complicated; it can take many years for an infection to cause symptoms and illness. The new blood test can tell how recent an infection occurred.

About 1.1 million Americans are living with the in the U.S. now. So the fact that the number of infections is stable is a "bit of good news," Fenton said.

"In a sense, we are holding HIV incidence at bay," he said.


Related Stories

Recommended for you

Videos reveal how HIV spreads in real time

October 2, 2015

How retroviruses like HIV spread in their hosts had been unknown—until a Yale team devised a way to watch it actually happen in a living organism. The elaborate and sometimes surprising steps the virus takes to reach and ...

Researchers find proteins that shut down HIV-1

September 30, 2015

A pair of studies by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the University of Trento in Italy, and the University of Geneva in Switzerland, point to a promising new anti-retroviral strategy for combating ...

An antibody that can attack HIV in new ways

September 11, 2015

Proteins called broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are a promising key to the prevention of infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. bNAbs have been found in blood samples from some HIV patients whose immune systems ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.