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Transcripts

New HIV Estimates for the United States, Part One:
Interview with Dr. Kevin Fenton

This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC – Safer. Healthier. People.

What does the higher estimate based on the new surveillance system signify?
Dr. Fenton: “Well, first of all we must bear in mind that these are new breakthrough technologies which are providing us with the clearest picture of the HIV epidemic in the United States to date. Previous estimates of HIV incidence in the United States suggested that there are approximately 40,000 new cases occurring. The most recent estimates in 2006 suggest that the epidemic is - and has been - higher than previously known, at approximately 56,000 new HIV infections. These new technologies which we are applying to measure HIV incidence provides us with the clearest…most clear picture of how the epidemic is spreading in the United States to date.”

How should the new estimate impact people’s awareness of HIV/AIDS?
Dr. Fenton: “Well these estimates are really a wake-up call. They are a wake-up call to all of us in the United States to have authentic conversations about what we all need to be doing to ending this epidemic within our lifetimes.”

What does this tell us about the effectiveness of HIV prevention in the U.S., and what needs to be done?
Dr. Fenton: “The reality is that there are still too many people who are HIV-infected and who are unaware of their HIV status. We are seeing nearly 30 percent of new HIV diagnoses occurring in young people. So it’s clear that we need to focus our efforts in tackling these areas to enhance our prevention response. But all of us have a role to play in preventing HIV. The response should take place at the individual, at the community and at the national level. At the individual level, we all need to be taking control of the epidemic. We need to be knowing our HIV status and testing on a regular basis. Communities need to mobilize against HIV. Communities need to tackle issues of stigma and discrimination or other social factors which might be driving the epidemic. And as a nation, we need to recognize this epidemic for the crisis that it is.”

For the most accurate health information, visit www.cdc.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO, 24/7.

New HIV Estimates for the United States, Part Two:
Interview with Dr. Richard Wolitski

This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC – Safer. Healthier. People.

Why is the new estimate so different from the past one?
Dr. Wolitski: “The past estimates were based on the best available information that we had at that time. The current estimate is based on new technology that only became widely available in 2005. With this new technology, we are now able for the first time to be able to directly measure which infections have newly occurred in the United States. It’s this new information that’s going to allow us to better target our HIV prevention efforts and to better monitor the impact of those efforts over time.”

What does the new estimate tell us about populations impacted by HIV?
Dr. Wolitski: “These new data confirm what we’ve known for sometime about the disproportionate impact of HIV in the United States. They show that gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities and black men and women are most severely affected. In 2006, 53 percent of new infections were among men who have sex with men and there were higher rates of HIV infection among African Americans. These rates were 7 times higher compared to whites and 3 times higher compared to Hispanics, who are also disproportionately affected by the epidemic. These data confirm the need for us to reinvigorate and to focus our HIV prevention efforts on these critical populations.”

What can we learn from the new estimate that helps direct future strategies?
Dr. Wolitski
: “This new estimate is a wake-up call. It’s a reminder of the severity of the epidemic in the United States and that the epidemic continues to be a significant threat to public health in this country. These new data show that the HIV epidemic is and has been, for some time, worse than previously known. As a result, we need to reevaluate our HIV prevention efforts and make sure that they match the magnitude of this crisis. We need to make sure that all persons who are at risk for contracting HIV receive HIV testing and prevention services.”

For the most accurate health information, visit www.cdc.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO, 24/7.
 

New HIV Estimates for the United States, Part Three:
Interview with Dr. Irene Hall

This podcast is presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CDC – Safer. Healthier. People.

Can you explain the new method of estimating HIV incidence and why it represents a breakthrough?
Dr. Hall
: “We are very fortunate in the United States that we have a good reporting system for HIV diagnoses. Unfortunately, from the HIV diagnoses, we don’t know how long people have actually been infected. So this breakthrough technology developed at CDC now allows us to distinguish long-standing from recent infections and using that data with advanced statistical methods, we were able to estimate the new infections in the United States for 2006. This breakthrough technology enabled us to get a much more precise estimate and this information we can now use to target interventions.”

How representative is the new estimate?
Dr. Hall
: “We can think of the data that we have as a sample and then we use this data in our advanced statistical methodology to come up with a national estimate of the number of new HIV infections. The 22 states that we included in our analyses represent 73 percent of the AIDS diagnoses in the United States. Also, we had this estimate undergo a rigorous scientific review, so we actually are able to give now the clearest picture to date of the number of new HIV infections in the United States.”

For the most accurate health information, visit www.cdc.gov or call 1-800-CDC-INFO, 24/7.

 
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