Understanding the HIV care continuum
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Understanding the HIV care continuum

  • Published Date:

    December 2014

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    Recent scientific advances have shown that antiretroviral therapy (ART) not only preserves the health of people living with HIV, but also dramatically lowers their risk of transmitting HIV to others by reducing the amount of virus in the body. These developments have transformed the nation’s approach to HIV prevention. By ensuring that everyone with HIV is aware of their infection and receiving the treatment they need, we can sharply reduce new infections in the United States. This vision is central to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, the nation’s roadmap for addressing HIV in the United States (see sidebar). It is also a core focus of CDC’s high-impact HIV prevention strategy, which aims to achieve the greatest possible reductions in HIV infections by making sure that resources go to the regions, populations and prevention strategies where they will have the greatest impact. And it is backed by the HIV Care Continuum Initiative, an effort launched by President Obama in 2013 to increase the impact of HIV diagnosis and care efforts. To help gauge progress towards national goals (see sidebar) and direct HIV prevention resources most effectively, CDC tracks the HIV care continuum. The continuum is the series of steps from the time a person is diagnosed with HIV through the successful treatment of their infection with HIV medications. This fact sheet explains the various approaches and data used to develop the HIV care continuum, how it is used to improve outcomes for people living with HIV in the United States and how it helps guide the nation’s response to HIV.
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