Antiretroviral treatment is essential to suppress HIV viral load; without it persons with HIV experience substantial morbidity and premature death, and are at increased risk of transmitting HIV. Prevention, care, and treatment efforts for persons with HIV in the United States need to be informed by locally and nationally representative data. The Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) is an ongoing, locally and nationally representative surveillance system that collects data on a probability sample of adults with diagnosed HIV in the United States. MMP monitors sociodemographic variables, behavioral and clinical characteristics, supportive service needs, use of healthcare and prevention services, and receipt of care among persons with diagnosed HIV.
In 2018, 734 new HIV diagnoses were reported among Chicago residents in 2018, the lowest number of new reports since 1988. Individuals between the ages of 13 and 29 years represented 42% of all new diagnoses. Non-Hispanic Blacks represented 55% of new diagnoses, 56% of late HIV diagnoses and 60% of AIDS diagnoses. Compared with other HIV transmission groups, there were 3.8 times more new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) than those reporting heterosexual contact transmission (HCT) and 13 time more than those reporting injection drug use (IDU). Among those newly diagnosed, 81% were linked to care within one month of diagnosis; and 95% were linked to medical care within 12 months.
The noted disparities among those infected with HIV emphasizes the need to more fully understand the factors that contribute to disproportionate transmission among the groups impacted in order to identify interventions to prevent and reduce transmission and improve quality of life for those already diagnosed. The fact that PLWH may not be in care, underscores the need for MMP data, which comprehensively identifies barriers to linking and retaining infected persons into care.