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The CDCs first multi-year estimates from its national HIV incidence surveillance find that overall, the annual number of new HIV infections in the United States was relatively stable at approximately 50,000 new infections each year between 2006 and 2009. However, HIV infections increased among young men who have sex with men (MSM) between 2006 and 2009, driven by alarming increases among young, black MSM the only subpopulation to experience a sustained increase during the time period.
The new estimates were published in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE. The incidence estimates are based on direct measurement of new HIV infections with a laboratory test that can distinguish recent from long-standing HIV infections.
"More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year. Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing, and this increase is particularly concerning among young African-American MSM," says CDC director Thomas Frieden, MD. "HIV infections can be prevented. By getting tested, reducing risky behaviors, and getting treatment, people can protect themselves and their loved ones."
According to the new estimates, there were 48,600 new HIV infections in the United States in 2006, 56,000 in 2007, 47,800 in 2008 and 48,100 in 2009. The multi-year incidence estimates allow for a reliable examination of trends over time. They reveal no statistically significant change in HIV incidence overall from 2006 to 2009, with an average of 50,000 for the four-year period. In 2009, the largest number of new infections was among white MSM (11,400), followed closely by black MSM (10,800). Hispanic MSM (6,000) and black women (5,400) were also heavily affected.
"While were encouraged that prevention efforts have helped avoid overall increases in HIV infections in the United States, and have significantly reduced new infections from the peak in the mid-1980s, we have plateaued at an unacceptably high level," says Kevin Fenton, MD, director of CDCs National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "Without intensified HIV prevention efforts, we are likely to face an era of rising infection rates and higher health care costs for a preventable condition that already affects more than one million people in this country."
In addition to providing the first estimates for 2007, 2008, and 2009, CDC has also updated its earlier estimate of HIV incidence for 2006 (previously 56,300), which reflects refined research methods and additional years of data reporting. While the estimates announced today are based on the most current data, CDC will continue to refine the estimates over time as improvements in methods or additional data are available.