Mobile Version - May - June, 2017

From the Director Dr. Jonathan Mermin

Recent national surveillance data indicate reduced HIV incidence in the United States between 2008 and 2014. Part of this success is likely due to increased access to treatment, since antiretroviral therapy reduces HIV transmission. In an article from CDC's Medical Monitoring Project, among persons with HIV receiving clinical care in the United States, antiretroviral therapy prescriptions increased from 89% in 2009 to 94% in 2013, with concomitant increases in viral suppression from 72% to 80%. A recent article on HIV in Massachusetts supports this connection with substantial reductions in HIV among women, men, Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics over the last 15 years. A significant decrease was also seen among men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs. Also noteworthy is that in Massachusetts, the rate of viral suppression among people living with HIV was higher than the national average, especially among those retained in health care.

Syphilis Call to Action

CDC is calling on public and private sectors, as well as affected communities, to help reduce syphilis through research, prevention, and outreach. Syphilis rates have increased overall in the United States and across almost every demographic, including an increase in congenital syphilis and growing incidence among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Some specific action steps outlined in the "Call to Action: Let's Work Together to Stem the Tide of Rising Syphilis in the United States" include:

  • Public health departments improving surveillance, increasing screening, and partnering with healthcare providers and advocacy groups;
  • Healthcare providers taking complete sexual histories, following CDC testing recommendations, and treating diagnosed patients immediately;
  • Decision-makers and community leaders talking to STD program professionals in their jurisdictions to address policy barriers that impede public health progress.

CDC pledges to improve surveillance, make a syphilis specimen repository available for technological developments, and help develop tools for diagnosis and prevention. Read the Call to Action to learn more about practical steps to reverse the trends in syphilis.

Hepatitis Elimination Strategy

On March 28th, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a consensus report, A National Strategy for the Elimination of Hepatitis B and C. Co-sponsored by CDC, the report proposes numeric targets to eliminate the public health threat of hepatitis B and hepatitis C in the United States by 2030 and specifies a plan of action to achieve the elimination goals. The report underscores the important public health roles of testing, case management, and linkage to care for certain populations; the central role of public health surveillance; and provides recommendations for addressing viral hepatitis in certain populations including incarcerated persons and people who inject drugs.