In 2017, more than 16,000 people died of HIV, and about 5,500 of these deaths were from HIV-related causes, positioning the virus among the top 10 causes of death in certain groups.
“There is still work to be done,” said Karin Bosch, the CDC’s epidemiologist who led the study.
The earlier the diagnosis is made, the sooner people can receive long-term care and treatment and suppress the virus in their body, Dr. Bosch said. For example, the proportion of younger people dying from HIV is higher than older people because younger people are less likely to have continuous access to care, either because they do not have health insurance or because they do not seek care. regular care.
The lack of improvement in deaths from other causes is particularly worrying for women and substance users, other experts say.
“This really speaks to the things we think work in public health – mobilizing and engaging the community,” said Dr. Eileen Scully, an infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins University. “And that’s not the case with the women’s epidemic in the United States.”
Unlike gay men, women with HIV “come from many different walks of life” and are often excluded from support networks, she said. “We still have a long way to go, both in building trust and in attracting minority women to the health system in ways that make them feel safe and supported.”
Race also played a huge role in HIV deaths, with the highest percentage among blacks or those of multiple races.
Dr. Marazzo compares the high numbers in the American South to the “global south,” resource-poor countries in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere that also address stigma and opaque sexual networks, especially among gay blacks.