HIV/AIDS is one of the most feared diseases in the world today, and the fact that there’s no cure yet for it makes it all the more deadly.
However, 2025 could be a breakthrough year against HIV, as researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital claim United States could be on track within the next decade to see significant steps towards ending the HIV epidemic.
The researchers say their findings reveal that, with adequate commitment, a path exists to eliminate domestic HIV infection through the achievement of critical milestones — specifically, the reduction of annual new infections to 21,000 by 2020 and to 12,000 by 2025. They say that if these goals were met, 2025 could be the turning point for the epidemic, when HIV prevalence, or the total number of people living with HIV in the United States, would start to decline.
For their study, the researchers used HIV surveillance data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the years 2010 to 2013 to project yearly estimates for several key indicators — the number of new infections occurring annually, the number of people living with HIV in the United States, and the mortality rate — for 2014 through 2025.
The researchers used these projections to forecast the potential trajectory of the epidemic if the United States were to achieve certain benchmarks set by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), which was first released by President Obama in 2010 and updated in 2015 with targets to be met by 2020.
According to the study’s co-author David Holtgrave, PhD, chair of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Bloomberg School: “While these targets are ambitious, they could be achieved with an intensified and sustained national commitment over the next decade. It’s critical to note that the key to ending the HIV epidemic domestically lies in our collective willingness as a country to invest the necessary resources in HIV diagnostic, prevention and treatment programs.”
The report was published May 15 online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.