U.S. HIV Rate Being Revised Upward

Federal health officials are revising their estimate of how many people are infected by HIV each year, and advocacy groups say the number could rise by 35% or more. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the numbers are not final and won't be released until early next year. The CDC has been estimating about 40,000 new HIV cases occur in the nation each year. At a national HIV prevention conference in Atlanta this week, however, advocates claimed the new estimate is 55,000 or higher.

BY admin

December 04 2007 1:00 AM ET

Federal health
officials are revising their estimate of how many people
are infected by HIV each year, and advocacy groups say the
number could rise by 35% or more.

The U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention said the numbers are
not final and won't be released until early next year.

The CDC has been
estimating about 40,000 new HIV cases occur in the
nation each year. At a national HIV prevention conference in
Atlanta this week, however, advocates claimed the new
estimate is 55,000 or higher.

It's not clear if
the rate of HIV infection has been rising or whether
it's been steady but previous estimates were off, said Julie
Davids, spokeswoman for the advocacy group Community
HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project.

''But either way,
this shows that prevention efforts are insufficient,''
Davids said.

The new estimates
are based on new testing technology and statistical
assumptions still being reviewed, said Kevin Fenton,
director of the CDC's Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral
Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

''The estimates
have been submitted for further analysis and rigorous
scientific review to ensure the accuracy of the complex new
methods and of the estimates themselves,'' Fenton said
in a statement.

The figure is to
be released early next year, after it is carefully
evaluated by a peer-reviewed medical journal, CDC officials
said.

This would not be
the first time the statistics of HIV and AIDS
prevalence have shifted. Last month the United Nations AIDS
agency slashed its estimate of the number of people
living with HIV worldwide, to 33 million from 40
million. The change mostly was a result of new
research and analysis methods. (Mike Stobbe, AP)

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