More people than ever receiving life-saving HIV treatment, according to CDC

New report stresses importance of testing in Arizona
HIV is a long-term, treatable virus.
HIV is a long-term, treatable virus.(MGN)
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 1:09 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the number of people able to receive lifesaving HIV treatment through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR has increased 300 times in the last 20 years.

The number of people receiving HIV therapy increased from just under 67,000 people in 2004 to more than 20 million people in 2022. This increase means that more people are able to access the vital care that they need without fear of judgment, or transmission of the virus between partners, and reduces overall risk for the global population than ever before.

PEPFAR is a life-saving global HIV prevention program.
PEPFAR is a life-saving global HIV prevention program.(CDC MMWR)

CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Debra Houry, M.P.H. said that this program which spans 50 countries has significantly altered the course of the global HIV epidemic. In the U.S., PEPFAR plans to eliminate HIV as a global public threat by 2030. Overall, 62% of all individuals in treatment for HIV were supported by PEPFAR-supported health programs.

The Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS in downtown Phoenix offers free HIV/STI testing for walk-ins as well as judgment-free treatment and prevention services for anyone needing assistance, including LGBTQIA2S+ individuals. One of their offered programs called PrEP Navigation connects those with HIV to appropriate medication for their needs. The Arizona Department of Health Services recently recognized the Center’s program as the largest PrEP navigation program in the region.

In Uganda, HIV prevention and treatment programs have treated more than 500,000 HIV infections and have prevented more than 600,000 deaths since 2004. However, concerning global data, pregnant persons, those breastfeeding, children, adolescents, and those imprisoned have yet to see these high rates of treatment and prevention.

PEPFAR’s 5-year strategy is to continue building on current research and prevention projects, work to make prevention and treatment accessible to all communities, help bolster global health security, and to work alongside global prevention programs to eliminate the epidemic across the world.

Although rates of HIV are higher among members of the LGBTQ+ community, anyone can be infected by the virus. It does not discriminate based on age, gender expression, identity, or nationality. HIV is not a death sentence but is an easily treatable medical condition, according to the Human Rights Campaign.