CDC Revises HIV Infection Estimates Upward by 40%

By Rachel Walden — August 4, 2008

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new report, published in the August 6 issue of JAMA, titled “Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States.” The paper describes a revised model for estimating new HIV infections, which resulted in an estimate for 2006 that was considerably higher than the agency had previously believed.

According to the CDC:

“Using the new surveillance system, CDC estimates that 56,300 new HIV infections occurred in the United States in 2006. CDC previously estimated that approximately 40,000 new HIV infections occurred annually since the 1990s. The 2006 incidence estimate is about 40% higher than the previous estimates. The new system reveals that the epidemic is—and has been—worse than previously estimated and underscores the need to expand HIV prevention to reach those at greatest risk.”

Unfortunately, the article is not freely available to the public at this time, although the CDC is providing some related fact sheets and podcasts. The abstract can also be viewed at the JAMA website, and the New York Times and other news outlets have coverage of the report.

The report also indicates that the number of new infections each years seems to have been fairly stable since the late 1990s, and points to considerable disparities, noting that “gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities and African American men and women are the groups most affected by HIV.” Responding to the findings, Rep. Henry Waxman said in a statement:

As the total number of people with HIV in the United States has risen, so has the need for these programs. But unbelievably, in recent years the HIV prevention budget has gone down. Since fiscal year 2002, when adjusted for inflation, CDC’s prevention budget has actually shrunk by 19%. The President has recently requested decreases in funding for HIV prevention at CDC.

So, even as the agency’s experts have identified a growing list of interventions that work, they’ve had less and less money to actually get these programs to the communities that need them. And they’ve had less money for crucial research for some of the highest-risk populations, like minority men who have sex with men.

Waxman, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Government Reform, plans to hold a hearing on this topic in September.

2 responses to “CDC Revises HIV Infection Estimates Upward by 40%”



  2. Rich, the report was published in JAMA. Here’s the full citation:
    Hall HI, Song R, Rhodes P, Prejean J, An Q, Lee LM, Karon J, Brookmeyer R, Kaplan EH, McKenna MT, Janssen RS for the HIV Incidence Surveillance Group. Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States. JAMA, August 6, 2008;300(5):520

    The CDC website does have some fact sheets on the findings, but like you, I was surprised that this wasn’t released as part of an MMWR, Surveillance Summary, or other freely available CDC publication.

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