STAT

The end of HIV transmission in the U.S.: A once-unthinkable dream becomes an openly discussed goal

The struggle against HIV may be undergoing a sea change, with top officials opening discussing what it would take to end transmission in the U.S.

A mere decade ago, 45,000 Americans a year were contracting HIV. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started collecting data on HIV-related deaths just over 30 years ago, more than half a million of those people have died from AIDS.

And yet, today, the struggle against HIV may be undergoing a sea change.

U.S. health officials and HIV experts are beginning to talk about a future in which transmission in the United States could be halted. And that future, they say, could come not within a generation, but in the span of just a few years.

“We have the science to solve the AIDS epidemic,” Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, himself a longtime HIV researcher and clinician, told STAT in a recent interview. “We’ve invested in it. Let’s put it into action.‘’

Other leaders in the HIV field have been musing about the idea, buoyed by the astonishing impact effective HIV medications have wrought, both on the lives of people infected with or at risk of contracting the virus, and on the trajectory of the epidemic.

“It’s certainly doable in the United States,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy

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