HIV diagnosis is quicker than in recent years, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study looked at approximately 40 thousand cases of HIV in 2015 and concluded that the average gap between infection and diagnosis was three years, which is seven months faster than 2011 estimates. Researchers have deemed the 7-month improvement to be a sign that America is effectively combating the disease.
„These findings are more encouraging signs that the tide continues to turn on our nation’s HIV epidemic,” states Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, CDC Director.
Americans with HIV are keeping their condition under control and, as a result, annual infection rates are down. However, there is a downside to this, according to the president of the Los Angeles-based Aids Healthcare Foundation, Michael Weinstein. He states that during those three years, people with HIV could have infected others without knowing it.The CDC revealed that 40 percent of HIV cases stem from people who don’t know they’re infected.
„In California, we’ve done a lot of things right but we haven’t done all that we could do to bring this down,” said Weinstein.
The CDC urges people aged 13 to 64 years to seek health screenings for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Those who have a higher risk for the infection should get tested annually, according to the report. As for sexually active gay and bisexual men, the check-ups should be done every three to six months.
In the data collected, it shows that 29 percent of gay and bisexual men, 42 percent of injection drug users, and 59 percent of heterosexuals at increased risk did not undergo HIV testing in the past year.
Weinstein added that there needs to be more outreach programs and screenings during emergency room blood tests in order to reduce the time between infection and diagnosis.
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