This brief summarizes the contributions of Kaiser Permanente Research since 2007 on the topic of HIV and AIDS.
Since the height of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the mid-1980s, the number of new HIV infections occurring each year in the United States has fallen by more than two-thirds.1 Nevertheless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40,000 new cases of HIV are diagnosed each year in the United States, and just over 18,000 people received a diagnosis of AIDS in 2016.2,3 Further, the CDC estimates that 13% of people living with HIV are unaware of their infection. Two-thirds of new HIV diagnoses occur in men who have sex with men.3 Moreover, despite representing just 30% of the U.S. population, nearly 2 out of 3 new HIV infections occur in Black and Latino Americans.3
Because of treatment advances and improved survival that began in the late 1990s, the number of Americans living with HIV has increased substantially.1 By the end of 2015, an estimated 1.1 million adolescents and adults were living with HIV.2 Among those living with HIV, nearly two-thirds were receiving treatment for the disease, and approximately half had achieved viral suppression.4 People who sustain viral suppression can remain healthy and have almost no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to uninfected partners. The risk of transmission has been further reduced through interventions such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, which is a prescription of HIV antiviral drugs that helps prevent infection in people without HIV.
HIV/AIDS is an active area of study for Kaiser Permanente Research. Scientists across the program have used our rich and comprehensive longitudinal data to advance knowledge in the areas of understanding risk, improving patient outcomes, and translating research findings into policy and practice. We have published more than 650 articles related to HIV and AIDS since 2007, which have been cited nearly 45,000 times.5 These articles are the product of observational studies, randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and other studies led by Kaiser Permanente scientists. Our unique environment — a fully integrated care and coverage model in which our research scientists, clinicians, medical groups, and health plan leaders collaborate — lets us contribute generalizable knowledge on HIV/AIDS, and many other topics of research.