More than a Million Americans Live with HIV

US health officials reveal that effective medicines are helping HIV-positive Americans to live healthier and longer lives. At the end of 2008, greater than 1.17 million Americans had HIV. Out of these, 20% were unaware of being infected, say CDC researchers.

HIV has claimed a toll of 594,496 American lives in the past 30 years. But, effective drug therapy has transformed the disease from a death sentence to a chronic ailment. But, there is a troubling increase in the number of new infections.

About 50,000 Americans get infected with HIV every year. 50% of the new infections occur in bisexual and gay men. In this group, African-Americans comprise half the number. These statistics were revealed in a recent issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Early detection and prompt treatment can cut HIV transmission to sex partners by about 96%. Using condoms will further ensure that partners do not get infected.

Many people harboring the virus do not realize they are infected. This highlights the need to increase access to HIV testing. Health officials also emphasize on frequent testing, especially among bisexual and gay men, to increase the chances of early detection.

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