11/30/2011 05:47 pm ET

3 In 4 Americans With HIV Don't Have Disease Under Control: Study

Almost three out of four people in the United States with HIV do not have their condition under control, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The news comes just days before World AIDS Day, which is on Dec. 1.

The high figures are likely a result of one in five people not realizing that they have the disease to begin with, the CDC said.

"While we have known that viral suppression can be achieved with proper HIV treatment and care, today's new Vital Signs data highlight the challenges our country faces in keeping HIV-positive Americans in the care they need to control the virus," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., the director of the CDC, said in a statement.

There are nearly 1.2 million people who have HIV in the U.S., but just 28 percent of them have what is called a "suppressed viral load," which means that they have less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood, the report said. Having a suppressed viral load means that the HIV is under control and that there's a lower chance of it being spread to other people, though it's still possible to transmit HIV with a very low viral load, according to the CDC.

But the report also shows that receiving care and treatment for HIV does much to suppress the viral load. Among people receiving treatment, 77 percent of them have a suppressed viral load, according to the report.

While there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, there are a number of medicines that are effective at controlling the virus. Treatment success is determined by how much you are able to lower the amount of virus in your blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

For more from the CDC on HIV in America, click here.