Global trends in HIV incidence are estimated typically by serial prevalence surveys in selected sentinel populations or less often in representative population samples. Incidence estimates are often modeled because cohorts are costly to maintain and are rarely representative of larger populations. From global trends, we can see reason for cautious optimism. Downward trends in generalized epidemics in Africa, concentrated epidemics in persons who inject drugs (PWID), some female sex worker cohorts, and among older men who have sex with men (MSM) have been noted. However, younger MSM and those from minority populations, as with black MSM in the United States, show continued transmission at high rates. Among the many HIV prevention strategies, current efforts to expand testing, linkage to effective care, and adherence to antiretroviral therapy are known as “treatment as prevention” (TasP). A concept first forged for the prevention of mother to child transmission, TasP generates high hopes that persons treated early will derive considerable clinical benefits and that lower infectiousness will reduce transmission in communities. With the global successes of risk reduction for PWID, we have learned that reducing marginalization of the at-risk population, implementation of nonjudgmental and pragmatic sterile needle and syringe exchange programs, and offering of opiate substitution therapy to help persons eschew needle use altogether can work to reduce the HIV epidemic. Never has the urgency of stigma reduction and guarantees of human rights been more urgent; a public health approach to at-risk populations requires that to avail themselves of prevention services and they must feel welcomed.
HIV Global epidemic Surveillance Global Prevention Epidemiology Barriers Human rights HIV prevention strategies Men who have sex with men (MSM) Persons who inject drugs (PWID)
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Supported in part by NIH grant #UM1 AI068619, the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) Leadership Group.
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Conflict of Interest
Sten H. Vermund reports that he serves as a consultant for the World Bank, the WHO, and UNAIDS.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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