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

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Abstract

Context:

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.

Objective:

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.

Design:

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.

Setting:

United States.

Participants:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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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