AIDS United on the Newly Released CDC HIV Surveillance Report

The CDC’s newly released surveillance report indicates both promising trends for ending the HIV epidemic while also highlighting areas where more investment is needed.  

The data clearly shows that our efforts to end the HIV epidemic are working in many areas, but the persistence of long-standing racial disparities underscores the need for further investment in Black, Brown and Indigenous communities that are disproportionately impacted and under resourced. So long as these social determinants of health remain a factor, the HIV epidemic will continue to spread and meeting the goals set by the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative will remain out of our grasp.  

“We are seeing the positive impacts of targeted federal programs and policies, as well as the investments of grassroots advocates,” Carl Baloney, Jr., Vice President for Public Affairs & Chief Policy Officer, says. “More and more trends are looking better, but we will continue to be mindful where there are challenging numbers so we can invest our efforts and grantee work intentionally. The HIV epidemic, despite stubborn challenges, continues to become smaller year by year, thanks to the tireless work of advocates at federal, state and grassroots levels.” 

Positive news includes an overall drop in cases: In 2018 there were 36,200 new reported cases, while 2022 had a 12% drop to 31,800, driven in large part by a 30% decrease among young people aged 1324 years. Increases in preexposure prophylaxis prescriptions (PrEP), rates of viral suppression, and testing likely contributed to the youth decline. However, while more people overall are aware of their HIV status, there has been a slight decline in awareness among young people.  

Data also show significant declines geographically, with estimated new HIV infections decreasing 16% in the South in 2022 compared with 2018. This is a major milestone, but it is worth remembering the South still constitutes a majority of the overall infection rates (at 52%) in the United States. This is why AIDS United invests so heavily in programming such as the Southern HIV Impact Fund (SHIF) which supports work being done by community, for community across the South.  

We are glad to see continued progress in the fight to end the HIV epidemic, but structural barriers continue to threaten progress, as they always have. Social, racial and economic factors in particular contribute to disparities among Black and Hispanic/Latinx persons. In 2022, the highest incidence of HIV is still among Black/African American (34.1), multiracial (21.6), and Hispanic/Latinx (20.7) persons. 47% of estimated new HIV infections among women are Black women. New HIV infections are overwhelmingly still stemming from men who have sex with men (MSM), accounting for 67% of estimated new infections, and Hispanic/Latinx men account for 39% of estimated new HIV infections among gay, bisexual and other MSM in 2022: roughly the same as their 2018 numbers.   

There is also a great deal of work to be done in preventing new HIV transmission among people who inject drugs. Overall, HIV infections attributed to injection drug use rose by 4.5% between 2018 and 2022, with a significant 7% increases in new HIV diagnoses among cisgender men who inject drugs and who do not have sexual contact with other men. 

Data from these reports detail how HIV testing, PrEP, and treatment are effective and are working, but there is still much more work to be done. Achieving our EHE goals are still possible if we continue to address social determinants of health. Prevention, care and treatment must be within reach for all communities.