HIV Drug Statistics

Over one million people in the United States are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Those taking certain medications to treat or prevent the condition are at risk of developing life-altering health issues, including bone and kidney problems. Discover how many people suffer from HIV and may develop HIV drug-related health conditions.

History of HIV Drug Use

In June 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first five known cases of complications from HIV. Today, over a million people in the United States have the condition.

Over the past three decades, medications to treat and prevent HIV have made numerous advances. For example, those diagnosed with HIV in their 20s can now expect to live into their early 70s.

While antiretroviral medications have proved beneficial at managing HIV symptoms and improving the quality of life of those infected by the virus, there still lurks a devastating HIV epidemic across America.

Now, the same drugs used to treat HIV are causing detriment of their own.

History of TDF Drugs

Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001 for the treatment of HIV. This antiretroviral drug is one of the most common medications used for this condition.

Despite its commonness, TDF comes with several health risks, including:

  • Acute kidney injuries
  • Bone damage, fractures, and density loss
  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • Kidney failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Renal impairment
  • Tooth loss

Manufacturers of TDF drugs, namely Gilead Sciences, were aware of these health hazards but continued to make and sell TDF-containing medications anyway, according to recent lawsuits.

This has put numerous innocent people at risk of serious health conditions, many of whom are filing personal injury and class-action lawsuits.

Timeline of HIV and HIV Drugs

  • 1981: The first cases of what would become the AIDS epidemic are reported.
  • 1982: The term AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is used for the first time.
  • 1984: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) announces that they found the cause of AIDS, a retrovirus they labeled HTLV-III, and expressed hope that they would have a vaccine within 2 years.
  • 1985: The FDA licenses the first commercial blood test to detect HIV.
  • 1986: The International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses declares the virus that causes AIDS will be known as HIV.
  • 1987: The FDA approves the first antiretroviral drug, zidovudine, and issues regulations that expand access to promising new medications not yet approved or licensed. This accelerates drug approval by 2-3 years.
  • 1988: Protests at the FDA headquarters over a slow drug-approval process lead to new regulations that speed up drug approvals. In December, World AIDS Day is observed for the first time, designated by the World Health Organization (WHO), and supported by the United Nations (UN).
  • 1990: The FDA approves the use of zidovudine for pediatric AIDS.
  • 1995: The FDA approves the first protease inhibitor, saquinavir, which brings a new era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is formed to speed up the search for an effective HIV vaccine.
  • 1996: The FDA approves the first non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) drug, nevirapine.
  • 1997: HAART becomes the new standard for HIV care. The CDC reports the first substantial decline in AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. The FDA approves Combivir®, a combination of two antiretroviral drugs in one tablet. As more people begin taking protease inhibitors, resistance to the drugs becomes more common.
  • 2012: The FDA approves the use of Truvada® for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for adults who do not have HIV but are at high risk for infection.
  • 2015: WHO announces new treatment recommendations that call for antiretroviral therapy (ART) to begin as soon after diagnosis as possible to prevent an estimated 21 million deaths. Also recommended, daily PrEP for people at substantial risk could help prevent 28 million new infections.
  • 2016: The annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) reports that a man taking the HIV prevention pill Truvada has contracted HIV — marking the first reported infection of someone regularly taking the drug.
  • 2017: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invests $140 million to develop implants that can deliver HIV-prevention medication which would eliminate the need for people to take daily preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
  • 2019: The U.S. government announces a goal to end the HIV epidemic in America by reducing new HIV infections by 75% in 5 years and by 90% in 10 years.

HIV and Drug Use Statistics

Approximately 1.1 million Americans have HIV, and of those people, roughly 15% don’t know they have the virus.

By 2004, there were over 1 million cases of AIDS in the United States and over 500,000 AIDS-related deaths, according to the American Federation of AIDS Research. This greatly outnumbers the number of people with AIDS in 1992 (250,000, with 200,000 deaths).

Around 50,000 Americans contracted HIV in 2016 — of these, 17,528 were black, 10,345 were white, and 9,766 were Latino.

People aged 25 to 29 had the most HIV diagnoses in 2016 (7,964).

According to the CDC, nearly half of the HIV diagnoses in 2016 occurred in just five states: California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Georgia.

Roughly 36.7 million people worldwide have HIV, according to AIDS.gov.

It is estimated that the U.S. will spend over $26 billion on HIV programs (research, housing, treatment, and prevention) every year.

Those living with HIV will spend, on average, $379,668 to treat their condition.

Approximately 225,000 of the 381,580 people taking an HIV prevention medication are in the United States.

Legal Help for Those Harmed by HIV Drugs

The statistics above reveal two things: thousands of people have HIV and thousands take medications to treat or prevent the virus.

This also means that thousands may be at risk of developing HIV drug-related bone and kidney problems.

If you currently use an HIV medication — or have used one in the past — and developed a kidney or bone issue as a result, you deserve high-quality legal help. Seeking legal assistance may help you receive compensation and hold accountable the negligent drug manufacturers who made and sold dangerous medications.

To learn more about your legal options, start your free case review now.

Author:HIV Drug Justice Editorial Team
HIV Drug Justice Editorial Team

HIV Drug Justice educates people about the risks of HIV drugs, which can cause kidney failure and bone damage. Our site is managed by the HIV Drug Justice Editorial Team, a group of concerned writers, editors, journalists, and illustrators. Our team helps readers understand what medical and legal options are available if they used dangerous HIV drugs and developed serious health problems as a result.

Last modified: September 6, 2019

View 4 References
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  2. Kenslea, G. (2018, May 9). Gilead Lawsuits: California HIV Patients File Class Action and Personal Injury Cases Over Key HIV Drug. Retrieved from https://www.aidshealth.org/2018/05/gilead-lawsuits-california-hiv-patients-file-class-action-and-personal-injury-cases-over-key-hiv-drug/

  3. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pharmacytimes.com/contributor/timothy-o-shea/2016/10/what-every-pharmacist-should-know-about-tenofovir-alafenamide

  4. (n.d.). 380,000 people on PrEP globally, mostly in the USA and Africa [updated]. Retrieved from http://www.aidsmap.com/news/oct-2018/380000-people-prep-globally-mostly-usa-and-africa-updated