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Too Few Americans Get HIV Test Early Enough
Date:6/25/2009

more likely to be diagnosed late, compared with whites, and more minorities than whites progressed to AIDS within three years, the researchers found.

In addition, people whose initial HIV diagnosis occurred when they were older were more likely to progress to AIDS within three years. Men diagnosed with HIV were also more likely to develop AIDS within three years, the researchers noted.

"It's important to be tested for HIV -- routine screening for folks 13 years and above with regular medical visits, and at-risk populations should be screened annually," Shouse said.

Another report in the same issue of the CDC journal showed that too few high school students have been tested for HIV. In fact, only 12.9 percent of all students, and 22.3 percent of students who have had sex, have been tested, researchers found.

"When you look at the younger age groups, we estimate, a little under half of people 13-to-24 who are HIV-positive know they are infected," said lead researcher Andrew C. Voetsch, also from CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

That's about 50,000 people, Voetsch noted.

Voetsch said that to get more people tested, the message has to be reinforced with health-care providers, so public health agencies must educate health-care providers on the importance of testing. Also, people need to be educated about identifying HIV early, to get them into treatment and make them aware of how to protect their partners, he said.

A. David Paltiel, professor and acting division head of the Division of Health Policy and Administration at Yale University School of Medicine, said late testing is a problem that has been around for a long time.

"All of those people who are tested late have been unable to access drugs that would prolong their life," Paltiel said. "They are at much higher risk of the complications that actually kill peopl
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