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CDC Releases First HIV Surveillance Report Highlighting Trans People

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Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its latest data analyzing new HIV diagnoses, linkage to care, viral suppression, PrEP prescription, and more. The information reflects data all the way through December 2019, making it the most up to date report the agency has released this year around HIV.

The report provides national-, state-, and county-level data on the indicators that will be used to monitor the U.S. government’s “Ending the HIV Epidemic” initiative, which has a goal of reducing new HIV transmissions by 75 percent in five years, and 90 percent in 10 years.

Additionally, it should be noted that this is the first HIV Surveillance report from the CDC where transgender men, transgender women, and additional gender identities have been profiled — something these communities have been demanding from the federal agency for years now. More data will be updated by the agency later this year. 

It's also the first time the CDC has produced and is releasing estimates of HIV incidence and prevalence for Puerto Rico, and at the U.S. county level. 

According to the report, a total of 1,173,900 people were living with HIV in 2018. Of that number, 1,012,040 were actually diagnosed. (In 2017, there were 1,152,400 people living with HIV, with 988,546 having actually been diagnosed.)

In Puerto Rico, 17,100 people were living with HIV in 2018. Of that number, 15,596 were diagnosed. Nearly 3,400 cases were living in San Juan Municipio.

Furthermore, some groups saw an increase of transmission rates since 2017, while others saw a decrease.

Of the new HIV diagnoses in 2018: 29,753 were male, 7,063 were female, 553 were trans women, 47 were trans men, and 12 had an additional gender identity.

That’s an overall increase compared to 2017, where: 30,488 were male, 7,268 were female, 549 were trans women, 33 were trans men, and 13 had an additional gender identity.

Note: Everyone tallied above was over the age of 13.

As far as age groups:

In 2018, 8,273 of newly diagnosed people were between the ages of 13 to 24 (compared to 7,817 the year before); 13,376 were ages 25 to 34 (compared to 13,355 the year before); 7,267 were ages 35 to 44 (compared to 7,196 the year before); and 5,604 were ages between 45 to 54 (compared to 5,294 the year before).

Of the newly diagnosed cases in 2018, 9,804 of them were white (compared to 9,557 the year before), 9,773 were Latinx (compared to 9,811 the year before), 937 were Asian (compared to 871 the year before), and 16,460 were Black (compared to 15,994 the year before).

Linkage to care was also highlighted in the report: 

* 26,657 men were linked to care within a month after being diagnosed in 2018 (compared to 27,111 the year before)

* 6,299 women were linked to care with a month after being diagnosed in 2018 (compared to 6,437 the year before)

* 492 trans women were linked to care with a month after being diagnosed in 2018 (compared to 488 the year before)

* 42 trans men were linked to care with a month after being diagnosed in 2018 (compared to 29 the year before)

* 10 people with additional gender identities were linked to care with a month after being diagnosed in 2018 (compared to 13 the year before)

Overall, the number of people living with undetectable viral loads (when the virus is suppressed to such low levels that it becomes impossible to transmit the virus) has increased — as did the number of people living with HIV.

In 2017, 642,720 men were living with HIV. Of that number, 410,459 were undetectable. In 2018, those numbers increased to 662,766 and 431,743.

In 2017, 200,524 women were living with HIV. Of that number, 122,524 were undetectable. In 2018, those numbers increased to 202,366 and 127,475.

In 2017, 8,164 trans women were living with HIV. Of that number, 5,163 were undetectable. Those numbers increased in 2018 to 8,625 and 5,643. And as far as trans men, 301 were living with HIV in 2017 and 188 were undetectable. Those numbers increased in 2018 to 326 and 233.

Furthermore, 127 people with additional gender identities were living with HIV in 2017. Of that number, 80 were undetectable. Those numbers increased in 2018 to 147 and 101.

As far as geography, the areas that saw the highest number of new HIV cases were:

* California with 4,712 new diagnoses (top regions were L.A. County with 1,690 and San Diego County at 378).

* Florida with 4,573 new diagnoses (top regions were Miami-Date county at 1,777 and Broward County at 626).

* Texas with 4,388 new diagnoses.

* Georgia with 2,501 new diagnoses (top region was Fulton County at 626).

* New York with 2,456 new diagnoses (top regions were Bronx County at 447 and Kings County at 548).

* Illinois with 1,361 new diagnoses (top region was Cook County at 970).

* New Jersey with 1,025 new diagnoses.

* Pennsylvania with 1,023 new diagnoses.

* Maryland with 996 new diagnoses.

* Puerto Rico with 436 new diagnoses.

As far as the number of undetectable cases per state: 

* California: 126,348 were living with HIV in 2018, and 84,492 of them were undetectable.

* Florida: 106,456 were living with HIV in 2018, and 70,002 were undetectable.

* New York: 124,567 were living with HIV in 2018, and 80,729 were undetectable.

* Illinois: 34,458 were living with HIV in 2018, and 19,710 were undetectable.

* Maryland: 32,163 were living with HIV in 2018, and 20,195 were undetectable.

* North Carolina: 30,665 were living with HIV in 2018, and 20,516 were undetectable.

* District of Columbia: 13,918 were living with HIV in 2018, and 7,778 were undetectable.

Lastly, the number of people prescribed PrEP, the HIV prevention strategy that when taken routinely makes it virtually impossible to contract the virus, were also profiled. (Note: All of the people profiled were 16 and over.)

In 2017, 142,409 men were prescribed PrEP in comparison to 9,910 women. That number increased in 2018 to 204,812 men and 14,770 women.

A huge gap was also made visible in regards to PrEP use.

Of the 219,691 people prescribed PrEP, 147,454 were white — compared to 9,437 being Asian, 28,243 being Latinx, and 28,243 being Black. 

Tags: Stigma, HIV

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