Perspective from Carlos del Rio, MD, FIDSA
February 28, 2019
3 min read

CDC says HIV prevention progress in US has stalled

Perspective from Carlos del Rio, MD, FIDSA
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Photo of Robert Redfield
Robert R. Redfield

The number of new HIV infections in the United States has stalled in recent years, according to a CDC report outlining trends from 2010 to 2016, ending a dramatic decline in new infections.

The number of new infections began stabilizing in 2013 at about 39,000 per year following 5 years of significant declines, according to the report, which was published weeks after President Trump asked in his State of the Union address for bipartisan support for a plan to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by 2030. The goal is to reduce new HIV infections by 90% in the next 10 years.

Key strategies of the plan are diagnosing HIV early, treating HIV quickly to achieve viral suppression, protecting those at risk for HIV using pre-exposure prophylaxis and other preventive measures, and responding to HIV clusters quickly to prevent new infections. The plan is designed to help the counties and cities with the highest rates of HIV burden, the CDC noted.

“Now is the time for our nation to take bold action. We strongly support President Trump’s plan to end the HIV epidemic in America,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said in a news release. “We must move beyond the status quo to end the HIV epidemic in America.”

The CDC report showed differing rates of infection among subgroups, with declines noted in some populations and increases in others.

From 2010 to 2016, the CDC found that although annual infections remained stable in black men who have sex with men (MSM), they increased 30% among Latino MSM and 16% in white MSM. Heterosexual men and women experienced a 17% decrease in infections, and individuals who inject drugs saw a 30% decrease, although the decline has stabilized in recent years, the CDC noted.

The CDC said it estimates the decline in infections stabilized because those who would benefit most from preventive treatments do not have access to them, including those living in rural communities and in the South and disproportionately affected populations such as African Americans and Latinos. – by Erin Michael


CDC. Estimated HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States, 2010-2016. Accessed February 28, 2019.

CDC. CDC data confirm: Progress in HIV prevention has stalled. Accessed February 28, 2019.

Disclosure: Redfield is the head of the CDC.