INDIANAPOLIS, IN – People with HIV in the United States are being diagnosed sooner after infection and HIV in the country is generally declining, according to the CDC. Even so, almost 40,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with HIV in 2016 and some groups have even seen an increase in diagnoses.
According to a CDC Vital Signs report published immediately after World AIDS Day, the estimated time between a person infected with HIV to be diagnosed was three years in 2015, a decrease of an estimated time of three years and seven months in 2011.
The CDC estimates that 40 percent of new HIV infections come from people who do not know they have HIV and recommends that all people between the ages of 13-64 be tested at least Once in life. For those with an increased risk of HIV, the CDC recommends annual tests. You can find a test site near you on the CDC's "Get Tested" website.
In 2016, the southern states, which account for 38 percent of the population, accounted for more than half of the new HIV diagnoses, according to the CDC.
In the Midwest, the Chicago metropolitan area, which includes Naperville, Elgin and Northwest Indiana – had the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in 2016, with 1,263 new cases.
The Indianapolis area, which experienced an HIV outbreak in 2015, with up to 20 new cases per week, only had 236 new cases in 2016. Some have blamed Vice President Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, for the outbreak, which caused almost 200 new cases of HIV before it was brought under control. Critics called Pence "dangerously wrong" on the issue of needle exchanges, saying his stance against them contributed to the outbreak. Indiana reported 484 new cases in 2016, compared to 633 in the year of the outbreak.
Drugs and new guidelines are radically changing the way people with HIV live their lives and, this year, the CDC said that those who take medications as prescribed daily and maintain an undetectable viral load does not have any risk of badual transmission of the virus to an HIV negative couple. That's something researchers first determined in 2008, but it's more than eight years after the statement is gaining consensus.
Helping spread that message is the "Undetectable = Intransmissible" (U = U) campaign that aims to change the definition of what it means to live with HIV. The group worked with medical professionals who studied the issue of badual transmission of HIV and issued a consensus statement in July 2016.
The statement, which has the support of more than 500 organizations around the world, says that the risk of badual transmission of an HIV positive person who is taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) and has an undetectable viral load in the blood for at least six months is negligible or non-existent.
Bruce Richman, who started the campaign, said that when he learned that he was undetectable in 2012 he changed his life and began to consider the possibility of relationships and intimacy without shame. Richman started with U = U because the message did not come out.
"The scientists were doing this advanced research and it was not reaching the people who were supposed to benefit," Richman told Patch.
He said: he heard directly from tons of clinics and medical badociations that would say they knew that this information was true but that they would not tell their patients, concerned about the increase in STIs and the fact that patients enter and they leave their treatments. When the New York City Department of Health endorsed the statement in August 2016, Richman said he really legitimized it.
"The campaign was born in New York," he said.
Shortly thereafter, other influential organizations such as the National Alliance "The state and territorial directors of AIDS and Terrence Higgins Trust in England officially endorsed the statement," Richman said.
The current focus of the campaign is to bring that information to HIV providers, health professionals and community organizations.
 Richman says that information changes the lives of people, such as those who have had bad for 20 years but are afraid of being intimate and others who have had no relationship.
"It's really, really deep, and that's why we have to keep saying this and that's why I struggle so hard to get this information," Richman said
Photo: an AIDS test with swab oral. AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin