RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., June 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ViiV Healthcare today announced new survey data that provide important insights that may help explain why HIV treatment rates remain low in the United States. Findings from the online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of ViiV Healthcare in 2013, reveal gaps in knowledge about HIV and its treatment among diagnosed but untreated people living with HIV (PLWHIV), as well as misperceptions about HIV prescription medicine and fewer positive perceptions of overall well-being compared to those of PLWHIV who are treating their disease.
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Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services recommend early treatment for the benefit of the HIV patient.[i] Still, many PLWHIV do not initiate therapy at the time of diagnosis, if at all. In fact, despite significant strides in HIV therapy and access, only 33 percent of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV are taking the medicines they need to live longer, healthier lives and reduce the chance of passing the disease on to a partner.[ii]
"There is mounting evidence clearly establishing many personal and public health benefits that go along with HIV treatment. Earlier treatment and a suppressed viral load help reduce the number of new infections and slow the virus' ability to damage the body.[iii] But this survey shows that gaps in knowledge about treatment among people living with HIV may serve as potential barriers to antiretroviral therapy," said Julie Scofield, Executive Director, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors. "Educating people about the importance and benefits of HIV treatment is critical, as is improving linkages to and retaining people in care – particularly in communities of color, where later-stage AIDS diagnoses are more common than earlier-stage HIV diagnoses."The survey findings point to the following four potential barriers to treatment use by comparing the reported perceptions and experiences of HIV-positive adults (aged 18+) who had never taken a prescription medicine to treat their HIV ("untreated patients") to those who had begun taking a prescription medicine to treat their HIV in the past five years ("treated patients"):