In 2012, we conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study to assess the number of people living with HIV linked to care and, among these, the number of people on antiretroviral therapy. The health authority in each of the 20 Italian Regions provided the list of Public Infectious Diseases Clinics providing antiretroviral therapy and monitoring people with HIV infection. We asked every Public Infectious Diseases Clinic to report the number of HIV-positive people diagnosed and linked to care and the number of those on antiretroviral therapy during 2012. In 2012, 94,146 people diagnosed with HIV and linked to care were reported. The majority were males (70.1%), Italians (84.4%), and aged between 25 and 49 years (63.4%); the probable route of transmission was heterosexual contact in 37.5% of cases, injecting drug use in 28.1%, and male-to-male contact in 27.9%. Among people in care, 20.1% had less than 350 CD4 cells/μl, 87.6% received antiretroviral therapy, and among these, 62.4% had a CD4 cell count higher than 350 cells/μl. The overall estimated prevalence of individuals diagnosed and linked to care in 2012 in Italy was 0.16 per 100 residents (all ages). Adding the estimated proportion of undiagnosed people, the estimated HIV prevalence would range between 0.19 and 0.26 per 100 residents. In Italy, the majority of people diagnosed and linked to care receive antiretroviral therapy. A higher prevalence of individuals diagnosed and linked to care was observed in Northern Italy and among males. More information for developing the HIV care continuum is necessary to improve the entire engagement in care, focusing on test-and-treat strategies to substantially reduce the proportion of people still undiagnosed or with a detectable viral load.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases