A new study by a team of investigators at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, found that immediate treatment initiation for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has improved since local and federal guidelines began to recommend universal treatment for all persons diagnosed with HIV, regardless of their disease stage. The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Despite notable improvements, nearly 25 percent of New York City residents with a new HIV diagnosis in 2015 had not initiated treatment within six months of their diagnosis. Another key study finding was that only 35 percent of people diagnosed with HIV had less advanced HIV disease. The study’s authors concluded that “continued efforts are needed to expand and better target HIV testing to promote earlier diagnosis and treatment initiation”.
The study used population-based HIV surveillance data to understand if the timeliness of HIV diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment (ART) initiation improved since ‘universal treatment’ was first recommended. They found that, among 9,987 NYC residents diagnosed with HIV from 2012 to 2015, 35 percent were diagnosed early, and the annual proportion of persons diagnosed sooner after HIV infection did not increase appreciably. Six months after diagnosis, only 62, 67, 72, and 77 percent of persons diagnosed in 2012, 2013, 2014 or 2015 respectively had initiated ART.Friday Letter Submission