Effects of Reaching National Goals on HIV Incidence, by Race and Ethnicity, in the United States

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence and prevalence in the United States are characterized by significant disparities by race/ethnicity. National HIV care goals, such as boosting to 90% the proportion of persons whose HIV is diagnosed and increasing to 80% the proportion of persons living with diagnosed HIV who are virally suppressed, will likely reduce HIV incidence, but their effects on HIV-related disparities are uncertain.


We sought to understand by race/ethnicity how current HIV care varies, the level of effort required to achieve national HIV care goals, and the effects of reaching those goals on HIV incidence and disparities.


Using a dynamic model of HIV transmission, we identified 2016 progress along the HIV care continuum among blacks, Hispanics, and whites/others compared with national 2020 goals. We examined disparities over time.


United States.


Beginning in 2006, our dynamic compartmental model simulated the sexually active US population 13 to 64 years of age, which was stratified into 195 subpopulations by transmission group, sex, race/ethnicity, age, male circumcision status, and HIV risk level.

Main Outcome Measure:

We compared HIV cumulative incidence from 2016 to 2020 when goals were reached compared with base case assumptions about progression along the HIV care continuum.


The 2016 proportion of persons with diagnosed HIV who were on treatment and virally suppressed was 50% among blacks, 56% among Hispanics, and 61% among whites/others, compared with a national goal of 80%. When diagnosis, linkage, and viral suppression goals were reached in 2020, cumulative HIV incidence fell by 32% (uncertainty range: 18%-37%) for blacks, 25% (22%-31%) for Hispanics, and 25% (21%-28%) for whites/others. Disparity measures changed little.


Achieving national HIV care goals will require different levels of effort by race/ethnicity but likely will result in substantial declines in cumulative HIV incidence. HIV-related disparities in incidence and prevalence may be difficult to resolve.

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