LOS ANGELES, June 2 (Xinhua) -- HIV infections have become less deadly in the United States thanks to more effective prevention and powerful medications, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday.
By 2008, there were nearly 1.18 million people in the U.S. living with HIV, 20 percent of whom don't know they are infected, the CDC said.
"Over the last three decades, prevention efforts have helped reduce new infections and treatment advances have allowed people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives," CDC director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden said in a news release.
"But as these improvements have taken place, our nation's collective sense of crisis has waned. Far too many Americans underestimate their risk of infection, or believe HIV is no longer a serious health threat, but they must understand that HIV remains an incurable infection. We must increase our resolve to end this epidemic."
According to the CDC, each year in the U.S., some 50,000 people become newly infected with HIV.
Over half of the new infections are among homosexual and bisexual men, and of these, about 50 percent are African-American, according to the CDC report published in the June 3 issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Among homosexual and bisexual men, blacks were most likely to be infected but unaware of their infection (14.5 percent), followed by Hispanic men (6.7 percent) and white men (3 percent).
The CDC urged high-risk groups to get more frequent HIV testing. In addition, less-educated men were less likely to be tested, as were poorer men, which suggests that access to testing needs to be expanded and these populations need to be targeted, the agency said.
While advances in care are leading to healthier lives, preventing new infections is the key, the agency stressed.