HIV Being Diagnosed Sooner After Infection — CDC

HIV Being Diagnosed Sooner After Infection — CDC

HIV Being Diagnosed Sooner After Infection — CDC

Among all 1.2 million Americans living with HIV in 2015, the CDC estimates that about 15 percent were unaware of their HIV-positive status.

However, that still leaves large numbers of at-risk people who are not getting tested, CDC officials noted.

Against the backdrop of progress in the HIV battle, where AIDS-related deaths continue to drop, work needs to be carried to address the difficulties faced by PLHIV today and those at risk of contracting the virus.

Screening for HIV is considered an important first step to preventing further spread of the virus.

For each of the new cases diagnosed in 2015, researchers estimated a rough time of infection on the basis of a patient's level of disease progression.

It tends to take four years for Asian Americans and two years for white Americans and about three years for African Americans and Latinos.

The median was three years for gay and bisexual males. The CDC also discovered that time from infection to diagnosis varied by group and race/ethnicity.

A little over 50 percent of those who do not know they are infected live in southern states, according to CDC. Among those 34 and younger, the median delay between infection and diagnosis was about 2.5 years.

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"Overall, it reveals that we as a nation are making great progress in HIV prevention", Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the CDC director, said during a news briefing on the newly released data. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont and South Dakota and Idaho had the lowest rates, between 5 percent and 10 percent. By 2015, that figure had plummeted to just shy of three years.

Numerous 36.7 million people living with HIV globally still face significant stigma and discrimination, while access to treatment and care options remains a challenge in some parts of the world, and 30% of PLHIV do not know their HIV positive status (WHO estimate). However, continued efforts are needed to ensure that high-risk individuals are aware of their infection status. Among men who have sex with men, 71 percent told surveyors they had been tested in the previous year, as did 58 percent of people who inject drugs.

To help get those affected diagnosed sooner, the report calls for physicians to be vigilant about offering HIV testing to people at high risk. "Once diagnosed, HIV can be treated so that people who have HIV can live long, healthy lives". Managing one's HIV infection with medication also significantly reduces the likelihood of transmitting the virus to sexual partners. Prompt diagnosis is prevention.

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

The CDC recommends testing all people between the age of 13 and 64 for HIV at least once in their lifetime, and people at higher risk for HIV - including IV drug users and sexual partners of infected persons - at least annually.

The issue does not seem to be a lack of access to health care.

"An HIV test opens doors to care, treatment, and prevention", said Dr. Fitzgerald, while Jonathan, Mermin, MD, MPH, the director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention added, "Testing for HIV is central to addressing [the epidemic] in the United States".

"In recent studies of thousands of couples where one partner has HIV and the other does not, there have been no sexually transmitted HIV infections when the HIV-positive partner was virally suppressed", Mermin said.

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