POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

US HIV/AIDS Rate May Have Been Underestimated By 35 Percent

Posted by pozlife on December 6, 2007

by The Associated Press

Posted: December 3, 2007 – 11:00 am ET

(Atlanta, Georgia) Federal health officials are revising their estimate of how many people are infected by HIV each year, and advocacy groups say the number could rise by 35 percent or more.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the numbers are not final and won’t be released until early next year.

The CDC has been estimating about 40,000 new HIV cases occur in the nation each year. At a national HIV prevention conference in Atlanta this week, however, advocates claimed the new estimate is 55,000 or higher.

It’s not clear if the rate of HIV infection has been rising, or whether it’s been steady but previous estimates were off, said Julie Davids, spokeswoman for the advocacy group Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project.

"But either way, this shows that prevention efforts are insufficient," Davids said.

The new estimates are based on new testing technology and statistical assumptions still being reviewed, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC’s Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

"The estimates have been submitted for further analysis and rigorous scientific review to ensure the accuracy of the complex new methods and of the estimates themselves," Fenton said in a statement.

The figure is to be released early next year, after it is carefully evaluated by a peer-reviewed medical journal, CDC officials said.

This would not be the first time the statistics of HIV and AIDS prevalence have shifted. Last month, the United Nations AIDS agency slashed its estimate of the number of people living with HIV, to 33 million from 40 million. The change mostly was a result of new research and analysis methods.

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