NEW YORK – Three weeks after President Donald Trump announced a campaign to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030, new government data show that progress in the fight against the disease has recently stagnated.
After declining for several years, the estimated number of new HIV infections remained roughly stable from 2013 to 2016, according to the latest available data, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday.
Health officials already knew that HIV diagnoses had stopped declining. But it's an imperfect measure because in some cases, people are only diagnosed several years after the infection.
This latest CDC report estimates the number of new infections that occur each year, whether they are diagnosed or not. And it also shows a stall.
The new figures show that the government is far from reaching the targets set previously to reduce the spread of HIV by 2015, said Dr. David Holtgrave, a long-time HIV expert and Dean of HIV. Public Health at the State University of New York at Albany.
What does he say about the 2030 goal? CDC officials said there was room for optimism, but Holtgrave said the new report and other data do not bode well.
Except for new government funding of at least several billion dollars a year, "this is extremely unlikely to happen," said Holtgrave.
The report found:
- Approximately 38,700 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2016.
- Nearly 20,000 of these 2016 infections occurred in the south. That's more than the combined total for the rest of the country.
- New infections are declining among many groups of people, including black women, under-24s, and white gay men.
- But infections among injecting drug users are no longer diminishing; experts believe that the epidemic of opioids is to blame.
- Infections increase among black and Latino homosexual men aged 25-34. This number increased by 65% between 2010 and 2016, offsetting decreases observed in the other groups.
In his State of the Union address earlier this month, Trump announced that he would launch a campaign to end HIV in the United States by 2030 .
In addition, federal health officials said the government hoped to reduce new infections by 90% over the next 10 years. The President did not specify how much new money will be spent on the effort.
CDC officials have calculated that at least 130,000 new infections occurred each year in the mid-1980s, when the country's AIDS epidemic first appeared. The number dropped to around 50,000 in the mid-1990s.