The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention published the 2015 HIV Surveillance Report. It is available online at https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/
pdf/library/reports/ surveillance/cdc-hiv- surveillance-report-2015-vol- 27.pdf.
The HIV Surveillance Report, which CDC has published regularly since 1982, includes detailed information about diagnosed HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas. Together with supplemental reports and analyses published throughout the year, the report provides federal agencies, health departments, nonprofit organizations and other partners the data they need to monitor HIV infections, focus prevention efforts, and allocate resources.
This edition of the report marks an important departure from prior years, made possible by improvements in HIV surveillance methods and data sources. The report presents all diagnosis, death, and prevalence data without statistical adjustments for delays in reporting of cases to CDC. Such adjustments were long needed to compensate for reporting delays of data.
Today, however, reporting of case information is more timely; significantly less time is needed to identify duplicate cases from multiple states; and systems for national data processing have been substantially strengthened, enabling unadjusted data to provide a reliable assessment of the impact of diagnosed HIV infection.
Note that CDC will continue to statistically adjust transmission category data to account for cases reported without a risk factor. Since these data are adjusted only for missing risk information, and not reporting delays, transmission category data should not be compared to those from earlier surveillance reports.
Although the new report includes 2015 data, it is important to note that assessments of trends are based on diagnoses and deaths that occurred during 2010-2014. CDC cautions that diagnosis and stage 3 (AIDS) classification data for 2015 are considered preliminary and subject to change, as they are based on only a 6-month reporting delay and may not include all recently diagnosed cases. However, the 2015 data do provide minimum estimates of the number of diagnoses and a preliminary snapshot of how diagnoses were distributed across different populations.
The report highlights a number of key trends for 2010-2014, including the following:
- The annual numbers and rates of HIV diagnoses decreased overall and among both women and men
- HIV diagnosis rates decreased among African Americans, Latinos and whites
- HIV diagnosis rates increased among people ages 25-29, remained stable among those ages 20-24, and decreased among other age groups
- The annual number of diagnoses attributed to male-to-male sexual contact remained stable, while the number attributed to heterosexual contact or injection drug use decreased
- The annual number and rate of deaths of persons with diagnosed HIV decreased
- HIV prevalence reached an all-time high; at the end of 2014, more than 955,000 people were living with diagnosed HIV infection
While trends in HIV diagnoses are influenced by testing rates, and may not always reflect trends in actual HIV transmission, the declines seen in this report suggest that national HIV prevention efforts are paying off, while signaling the urgent need for intensified prevention.