US HIV diagnoses improving, yet progress varies, CDC says

Delays from the time between becoming infected with HIV as well as getting a diagnosis are shortening, helped by efforts to enhance testing for the virus that will causes AIDS, U.S. health officials said.

The report, released on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control as well as Prevention, found that will 50 percent of the 39,720 people diagnosed with HIV in 2015 had been infected for at least
three years, a seven-month improvement compared with 2011.

Nevertheless, 25 percent of people diagnosed with HIV in 2015 were infected for seven years or more before being diagnosed.

CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said the report shows the nation is actually producing progress from the fight against HIV, yet the gains are uneven, as well as challenges remain.

“Too many people have HIV infections that will go undiagnosed for far too long,” Fitzgerald said in a conference call with reporters.

Shortening the time between HIV infection as well as diagnosis is actually key to prevention. The CDC estimates that will about 40 percent of completely new HIV infections are caused by people who did not know they were infected.

Although testing rates increased overall, an estimated 15 percent of people living with HIV in 2015 did not know they were infected, as well as half of people who were unaware of their infection in 2015 lived from the South.

The report found many some other disparities, with delays in diagnosis varying significantly by race/ethnicity as well as gender. For example, the estimated time through HIV infection to diagnosis
was a median of several years for heterosexual men, twice as long as heterosexual women. The median was three years for gay as well as bisexual men.

“The report tells us some groups, particularly heterosexual men as well as racial as well as ethnic minorities, live with HIV longer than some other groups before they are diagnosed,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, as well as TB Prevention, told the briefing.

Among high risk individuals, many reported not being tested from the prior year, including 29 percent of gay as well as bisexual men, 42 percent of people who inject drugs as well as 59 percent of heterosexuals at increased risk for HIV.

Two thirds of those who had not been tested for HIV from the prior year had seen a healthcare provider, which Mermin considered a missed opportunity for testing.

People who are diagnosed as well as take medications to control HIV are significantly less likely to spread the disease.

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