People Unaware That They Have Been Infected Account for 40% of HIV Transmissions, Says CDC

December 26, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​Persons unaware that they have been infected with HIV account for about 40% of ongoing transmissions of the disease in the United States, according to an article in the December 1, 2017, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors analyzed data from CDC's National HIV Surveillance System and found that an estimated 15% of people living with HIV were unaware they carried the infection in 2015. Among the 39,720 people diagnosed with HIV infection in 2015, the median delay in diagnosis was three years. Delay in diagnoses varied significantly among ethnic groups (from 2.2 years among whites to 4.2 years among Asians) and transmission category (from 2.0 years among women who use injectable drugs to 4.9 years among heterosexual men). Rates also differed by group for HIV screening. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of men who have sex with men reported being tested for HIV during the previous year, compared with 58% of people who inject drugs and 41% of heterosexual people at increased risk for HIV infection. At least two-thirds of those who reported not being tested during the previous 12 months said they had visited a healthcare provider during the previous year; about 75% of those people said they had not been offered an HIV test at the doctor's office.

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