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February 28, 2013

Dear Colleague,

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its 2011 HIV Surveillance Report. This report presents data on diagnoses of HIV infection through 2011, and reported to CDC through June 2012. For the first time, CDC is able to present data on diagnosed HIV infection from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 6 territories. Now we have a complete picture of diagnosed HIV infection in the U.S. and potential trends in HIV diagnoses for the U.S. can be examined. Surveillance data shows that HIV remains a significant threat. From 2008-2011, the annual estimated number and rate of diagnoses of HIV infection among Americans remained stable in the U.S., yet in 2011, an estimated 49,273 Americans were diagnosed with HIV—far too many.

As evidenced by this report and other previously released data , HIV continues to have a devastating toll on Americans, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM) and racial/ethnic minorities:

  • MSM represents two percent of the U.S. population but 62 percent of all HIV diagnoses are attributed to male-to-male sexual behavior.
  • African-Americans represent 12 percent of U.S. population but 47 percent of diagnoses of HIV infection.
  • Latinos account for 16 percent of U.S. population, but 21 percent of HIV diagnoses.

At the end of 2010, there were an estimated 872,990 persons in the U.S. living with diagnosed HIV infection. For all people with HIV, it is important to encourage prevention practices and to ensure everyone is fully engaged in care including testing, getting linked to HIV medical care, remaining in care, and receiving treatment.

In addition to new data on diagnosed HIV infection in the U.S., CDC’s 2011 HIV Surveillance Report has some new elements. HIV diagnosis data by region of residence are presented for the first time to give a better understanding of the geographic distribution of diagnosed HIV infection in the U.S. Also, data in this report are presented using stage of disease to classify HIV infection, as defined by the 2008 revised HIV case definition. CD4 information and the presence or absence of AIDS defining condition are used to determine HIV infection stages. The term “diagnosis of HIV infection” is defined as HIV regardless of stage of disease. The term “HIV infection, stage 3 (AIDS)” refers specifically to persons with diagnosed HIV whose infection was classified as stage 3 (AIDS) during a given year (for diagnoses) or whose infection has ever been classified as stage 3 (AIDS) (for prevalence and death data). In previous reports, stage 3 (AIDS) was described simply as “AIDS”.

To put the surveillance report’s findings in context, CDC has also released a fact sheet, HIV in the United States, which draws on multiple sources to provide an overall picture of the HIV epidemic in the United States. The 2011 HIV Surveillance Report and accompanying fact sheet are posted on the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention’s website:

We hope this report is useful to you as we continue to work together to reduce this unacceptable burden of HIV infection. Thank you for your continued commitment to HIV prevention.


Jonathan H. Mermin M.D., M.P.H.
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS,Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Norma Harris, Ph.D, M.S.P.H.
Acting Deputy Director for Surveillance,
Epidemiology and Lab Sciences
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral
Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Please visit to access the CDC 2011 HIV Surveillance Report, and the fact sheet HIV in the United States.

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