A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the subject of HIV has uncovered some shocking statistics about Americans living with HIV. The report estimates that there are 1.2 million people in the U.S. currently infected with HIV. The report found that 15% of those people were unaware of their current infection.
Beyond those who are currently unaware of their HIV positive status, many who had been recently diagnosed were found to have been living with the virus for at least three years. The CDC estimates around half of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the U.S. fall into this category. Furthermore, they discovered that in 2015 just under 40,000 newly diagnosed cases of HIV were in patients that had been unaware of the infection for up to 7 years.
While HIV reports nationwide have indicated for years that certain groups of people were more adversely affected by HIV, this new report finds that there are also certain groups who remain unaware of infection for longer periods of time. Members of the African-American community, the Latino community and the Asian-American community were far more likely to be unaware of an HIV infection for multiple years. Additionally, the older a person was at the time of infection, the less likely they were to know their current sexual health status.
The CDC recommends that all sexually active people between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once in their lifetime for HIV. It is further recommended that people belonging to certain higher risk groups be tested more often.
In today’s world, there are many treatments and medicines to help people diagnosed with HIV live long and healthy lives. The most important part of treating HIV is to catch the infection as early as possible. Living years without diagnosis can severely impair a patient’s ability to remain healthy. Treatment cannot be administered unless the virus is detected.
If you believe you may have been exposed to HIV, you should have HIV testing performed right away. This can sometimes be the easiest and quickest way to determine the status of your sexual health.