Study: Only 25% Of Americans With HIV Are Receiving Ongoing Treatment

prescription pills spilled over( — Nearly three-quarters of Americans with HIV don’t have their infection under control. That’s in large part because they may not know they have HIV or because they aren’t taking drugs that suppress the virus, according to a new study from the CDC.

The study is published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It is being released in advance of World AIDS Day, Thursday, Dec. 1.

The report reveals that 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, but only 28% take drugs to keep the amount of the virus in their bodies low.

A low “viral load” helps people with HIV stay healthy and reduces the chance they’ll transmit the virus to others. Untreated HIV infection can lead to AIDS.

The virus can be suppressed by antiretroviral drugs, sometimes for decades.

But the study’s authors say that one in five people who are infected with HIV do not know it. Of those who are aware of their HIV-positive status, slightly more than half receive ongoing treatment.

Testing and Treatment for HIV Lags in U.S.

“The HIV crisis in America is far from over,” Jonathan Mermin, MD, director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the CDC in Atlanta, said in a news briefing.