Estimated annual new HIV infections were 12% lower in 2021 compared to 2017—dropping from about 36,500 infections to about 32,100—according to new CDC data published today. The decline was driven by a 34% decrease in new infections among 13- to 24-year-olds, mostly among gay and bisexual males. HIV prevention efforts must go further and progress must be faster, however, for gains to reach populations equitably and for national goals to end the HIV epidemic to be reached.
According to CDC’s latest estimates, annual HIV infections dropped from 9,300 in 2017 to 6,100 in 2021 among 13- to 24-year-olds. Declines among young gay and bisexual males (who account for roughly 80% of new infections in this age group) drove the trend, falling from an estimated 7,400 infections to about 4,900 during the timeframe.
“Our nation’s HIV prevention efforts continue to move in the right direction,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. “Longstanding factors, such as systemic inequities, social and economic marginalization and residential segregation, however, stand between highly effective HIV treatment and prevention and people who could benefit from them. Efforts must be accelerated and strengthened for progress to reach all groups faster and equitably.”
Data suggest that improved reach of HIV testing, treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has contributed to progress in HIV prevention among young gay and bisexual males.