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Less Than a Year After CDC Announced the U.S. HIV Epidemic Is Much Larger Than Previously Thought, Public's Sense of Urgency Is Down, Even Among Some Higher Risk Groups
Date:4/28/2009

Sense of Personal Risk Falls for Young Adults, Testing Rates Are Stagnant

Amidst Call for Stepped Up Focus on Domestic HIV/AIDS, There Is Public Support for More Spending and the Public Believes Greater Efforts on Prevention Will Make a Difference

WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Less than a year after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recalculated the size of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and announced that there were 40 percent more new HIV infections each year than previously believed, a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Americans' sense of urgency about HIV/AIDS as a national health problem has fallen dramatically and their concern about HIV as a personal risk has also declined, even among some groups at higher risk.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • The share of Americans naming HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem facing the nation dropped precipitously from 44 percent in 1995 to 17 percent in 2006 and to six percent now.
  • CDC estimates that HIV rates are seven times higher among African Americans and three times higher among Latinos compared to whites. While these groups are more likely than whites to see HIV/AIDS as an urgent problem, fewer say it is a "more urgent" problem for their community now than in 2006 (declining from 23% to 17% of all adults, 49% to 40% of African Americans, and 46% to 35% of Latinos).
  • The share of those ages 18-29 who say they are personally very concerned about becoming infected with HIV declined from 30 percent in 1997 to 17 percent today; personal concern among young African Americans declined from 54 percent to 40 percent over the same time period.
  • More than half (53%) of non-elderly adults say they have been tested for HIV, including 19 percent who say they were tested in the past year. Testing is most common among adults under
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SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation
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