After many years of decline, HIV diagnoses attributed to injection drug use in the United States increased in 2015, the year of a large outbreak among persons who inject drugs (PWIDs) in Indiana. We assessed trends in HIV diagnoses among PWID across the urban–rural continuum.
We conducted national and county-level analyses of diagnoses among persons aged ≥13 years with HIV attributed to injection drug use only and reported to the National HIV Surveillance System through December 2019; county of residence at diagnosis was classified according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics Urban–Rural Classification Scheme. National trends for diagnoses occurring during 2010–2014 and 2014–2018 were assessed by the estimated annual percentage change (EAPC). Counties were considered to have an “alert” (ie, an increase above baseline) if the number of 2019 diagnoses among PWID was >2 SDs and >2 diagnoses greater than the mean of annual diagnoses during 2016–2018.
Nationally, HIV diagnoses among PWID declined 33% during 2010–2014 from 3314 to 2220 (EAPC: −9.7%; 95% confidence interval: −10.8 to −8.6); EAPCs declined significantly in 5 of 6 urban–rural strata. During 2014–2018, diagnoses increased 11% to 2465 (EAPC: 2.4%; 95% confidence interval: 1.1 to 3.8); EAPCs were >0 for all urban–rural strata, although most were nonsignificant. Alerts were detected in 23 counties, representing 5 urban–rural strata.
Vigilance is needed for increases in HIV among PWID in counties across the urban–rural continuum, particularly those with indicators of increased drug use. Prompt detection, investigation, and response are critical for stemming transmission.