The most effective way to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related deaths and prevent onward transmission is to diagnose and treat all persons as soon as possible after HIV infection. According to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, New Yorkers living with HIV are being treated sooner after infection. The time to treatment initiation was reduced in tandem with expanded HIV testing and treatment efforts in New York City.
An analysis of 28,162 New Yorkers diagnosed with HIV found considerable progress in rapid treatment initiation. The time from diagnosis to treatment initiation decreased by 60 percent from 2006 to 2015 and was a median of 0.2 years (~2.4 months) for people diagnosed in 2015. The time from estimated infection to diagnosis decreased by 28 percent to a median of 3.3 years among people diagnosed in 2015.
“The elapsed time from infection to diagnosis or treatment initiation matters because this represents time when an individual misses out on the benefits of treatment,” says Dr. McKaylee Robertson, the study’s lead author and an epidemiologist at the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH). “If we can continue to reduce diagnosis and treatment delays, we may continue to see declines in HIV incidence and mortality. These results suggest that we need more effective implementation strategies for earlier HIV diagnosis and linkage.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on January 10