California Surpasses National HIV Target -- 6 Years Early

Save ArticleSave Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

This article is more than 7 years old.

State health officials say California has passed a major goal in fighting HIV/AIDS: more than 90 percent of people living with the virus have been diagnosed, a necessary first step in treatment.

The state accomplished this goal six years ahead of the target 2020 set in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, established by the White House.

Data released Monday from 2014 shows 91 percent of Californians with HIV had been diagnosed.

In a statement, state public health officer Dr. Karen Smith said she was "proud of the work we’ve done across the Golden State to meet and surpass this key indicator, which will help us improve viral suppression rates and reduce new HIV infections.”

Only after people have been diagnosed can they be treated and dramatically reduce the virus in their blood, usually to undetectable levels. Successful treatment can reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to sex partners by 96 percent, according to the California Department of Public Health.


Chris Richey, a spokesman for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, called the milestone "a  huge deal" and said that diagnosis was a sign of being engaged in care.

"If you're not engaged in care in general," Richey said, "then you're not able to know or be in control of your sexual health or your overall health."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once, as part of routine health care. Some people should be tested more frequently, CDC says. State health officials recommend annual testing for sexually active gay and bisexual men, transgender individuals and anyone who injects drugs.

About 140,000 people in California are living with HIV.