Healthcare News & Insights

CDC: Only one-fourth of HIV patients get optimal treatment

According to a new CDC report, only about one-fourth of Americans infected with HIV are getting the recommended course of treatment to give them the best shot at maximizing their life expectancy.

According to the report, of people in the U.S. infected with HIV, about 80% know their diagnosis. Of those, more than 75% start receiving treatment for the disease within four months. But only half of them stay in treatment.

The treatments to manage HIV and its related illnesses are expensive, often have serious side effects and require rigorous adherence to a schedule of pill-taking. Combined with a still-active social stigma and the fact that many patients are uninsured, those barriers may keep many HIV patients from sticking with their treatment plans.

The good news: When patients do stick with the treatments, they work well. Of those who maintained the most common treatment plan, antiretroviral therapy, 77% showed that their viral load was completely suppressed.

The CDC report also showed that what treatment is prescribed for patients with HIV can vary significantly based on their demographics. Antiretrovirals are more likely to be prescribed for people over 55 (92% of patients), whites (84%) and men (90%).

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