HIV Being Caught Sooner In More People — CDC

Faith Castro
November 30, 2017

However, that still leaves large numbers of at-risk people who are not getting tested, CDC officials noted. In 2015, 15% of USA individuals with HIV were unaware of their infection, and the percentage of undiagnosed HIV infections ranged from 5.7% to 18.5% across the United States.

Now, the CDC believes 85 percent of the 1.1 million people with HIV have been diagnosed, including the 40 percent of patients who had no idea they had the disease and found out their positive status thanks to a routine test.

For Latinos, the median time to diagnosis was also 3.3 years; for Asian-Americans, it was 4.2 years. For homosexual and bisexual men, the time from infection to diagnosis was 3 years.

The authors of the CDC report surmised that the longer diagnosis delay among nonwhite racial and ethnic groups might reflect an observed trend: For whites, men who have sex with men are the predominant sources of HIV spread, but for other groups, sexual contact between men and women is responsible for a higher proportion of infections.

A little over 50 percent of those who do not know they are infected live in southern states, according to CDC.

Since the human virus emerged 30 years ago, HIV has become one of the world's most infectious killers, infecting 76.1 million people and accounting for the death of 35 million people due to AIDS-related illnesses. However, testing rates in some groups of individuals remain low. CDC on Facebook on Twitter YouTube Channel Instagram Pinterest CDC Vital Signs Learn about the latest public health data.

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An emphasis on testing and education for those at higher risk has reduced that new infection rate by 18 percent over the past decade, Mermin said.

Heterosexual males tend to be diagnosed within five years, while the rate is closer to two-and-a-half years for heterosexual females and females who inject drugs. "If you are at risk for HIV, don't guess-get a test", said Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, director of National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC. Prompt diagnosis is prevention. A positive HIV test allows an individual to get the treatment they need in order to live longer, healthier lives.

Meanwhile earlier this year, the company launched an worldwide survey called Positive Perspectives, to better understand the emerging needs and challenges of those living with HIV and their partners/significant others.

According to the CDC's recommendations, all individuals aged 13-64 years old should be tested at least once as a routine part of medical care and those at high-risk should be tested more frequently.

"These findings are more encouraging signs that the tide continues to turn on our nation's HIV epidemic", CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., said in a statement. Still, the state is disproportionately affected by HIV, Mermin said. The number of people who have the virus under control is up, and annual infections are down, she added.

"This is an epidemic we can stop so let's pledge to work together and end it forever", she said.

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