Americans infected with HIV are often finding out that not only are they infected with the virus, but it has done significant enough damage to their immune system that they fit the clinical diagnosis of AIDS.
USA Today reports that many of the nation’s hardest hit communities also have higher late stage diagnosis scenarios.
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long estimated that 20% of people infected with HIV don’t know it. One-third are diagnosed so late in the course of their infection that they develop AIDS within one year. The new analysis found that the states with the biggest epidemics and the greatest number of late diagnoses are Florida, New York, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 20 and 25 percent of the people infected with HIV do not know. This is particularly important in light of a recent National Institutes of Health study that found successful anti-retroviral treatment dropped infections between partners where one is positive and the other is not. The medications have a 96 percent efficacy rate in preventing infection in those relationships.
Not only does knowing one is infected make it easier to control the virus and live a healthy life, two studies have found that 66 to 70 percent of all new infections in the U.S. can be traced to a person who was unaware of their HIV infection. That also ties into a study released in September which found 1 in 5 gay or bi men in 21 urban areas — including Detroit — were HIV infected. Of those who were infected, the study found 44 percent were unaware of their status. Another study released last week found that of those who identified as having reported being tested on the previous 12 months, seven percent were actually infected. The study authors recommended that men who have sex with men ought to consider more frequent testing.