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Trends in HIV Care

Trends in HIV Care

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has provided statistics on the health and nutritional status of non-institutionalized, civilian Americans through household interviews and standardized physical examinations since 1971. Beginning in 1999, approximately 5,000 people are examined every year, with data publically released every 2 years. Monitoring national trends in HIV prevalence and associated risk factors using NHANES data can help increase understanding of the health behaviors and characteristics influencing these trends. Doing so, however, requires assessing data over a period of many years because of the relatively low prevalence of HIV in the general population. For a report published by the CDC, Geraldine M. McQuillan, PhD, and colleagues assessed NHANES data from 2007 to 2012 in order to describe the association of HIV status with key risk factors and examine the prevalence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) use among HIV-infected adults. “For NHANES, people aged 18 to 59 in the general population are surveyed in 15 communities every year,” explains Dr. McQuillan. “A questionnaire asks about demographics, including age, race/ethnicity, household income, and health conditions. Participants also undergo a complex examination that includes phlebotomy to test for, among other things, HIV.” Due to the low prevalence of HIV in the general population, Dr. McQuillan and colleagues could only assess a few measurements among those with the infection. These included, gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, poverty index, and health insurance status. Other factors assessed in the study included whether or not patients had received healthcare in the past 12 months, the number of lifetime sexual partners, the presence of the herpes simplex antibody, a same-sex sexual contact history, a sexually...
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