Is the elimination of HIV infection within reach in the United States? Lessons from an epidemiologic transmission model

Public Health Rep. 2010 May-Jun;125(3):372-6. doi: 10.1177/003335491012500305.


Recent estimates show that the transmission rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the U.S. has substantially decreased. This raises the question, is elimination of HIV infection in the nation feasible in the foreseeable future? We demonstrate that if the HIV transmission rate were reduced by 50%, then the reproductive rate of HIV infection would drop below unity and lead to eventual elimination of infection. In recent congressional testimony, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others asserted that the HIV transmission rate can be halved by 2020, if not earlier, provided sufficient investment is made toward achieving this goal. We assert that if adequate investment is made and the transmission rate is in fact lowered by 50%, then the HIV reproductive rate would fall below unity, setting the stage for eventual elimination of HIV infection in the U.S.

MeSH terms

  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • United States / epidemiology