October 2, 2008

CDC: More Than 1 Million Have HIV in U.S.

More than 1 million people in the United States had HIV in 2006, but one in five are unaware of their infections, federal health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Thursday estimated that 1,106,400 people were living with HIV in the United States in 2006.

The new estimate is based on a significantly improved national HIV reporting data set, as well as several additional years of data since the prior 2003 estimate. Based on this refined data set, researchers estimate HIV prevalence increased by 11 percent, or 112,000 people, since 2003.

The percentage of people unaware of their infections has declined, from 25 percent in 2003 to 21 percent in 2006, due to both increased diagnoses and a decline in deaths among persons living with HIV. The most severe impact continues to be felt among men who have sex with men, who represented 48 percent of those living with HIV, as well as blacks -- 46 percent -- and Hispanics, 18 percent.

The reports said the growing number of people living with HIV underscores the critical need to reach infected individuals with testing, treatment, and prevention services to reduce the impact of the disease.