In HIV land, “treatment cascade” is a new important tool for talking about and visualizing the HIV epidemic. It describes how people move through the HIV health care system from diagnosis to achieving the ultimate goal of undetectable levels.
Using current numbers, if we start with 100 people who are HIV+,
82 know their HIV status
66 are linked to medical care
37 stay in care
33 take antiviral therapy
25 achieve “viral suppression”
Viral suppression means using treatment to keep HIV at a level that helps individuals stay healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to others.
Here’s what it looks like graphically:
The goal, of course, would be to have all 100 people reach the last step of viral suppression. The Cascade shows exactly where there are gaps in service. 18 people in this group have HIV but don’t know it. 66 are not receiving antiviral therapy. 75 haven’t achieved viral suppression. Used properly, this data will help direct funding so that everyone is tested, gets into medical care, receives appropriate treatment, and stays healthy.