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CDC: HIV being diagnosed more quickly; 15 percent of Americans with the disease don’t know they’re infected

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that HIV is being diagnosed sooner after infection than previously believed, which that the agency’s director called “encouraging.”

According to a Vital Signs report released on Tuesday, the median time between infection and diagnosis was about three years in 2015. In 2011, the CDC had estimated that the median time between infection and diagnosis was three years and seven months.

“These findings are more encouraging signs that the tide continues to turn on our nation’s HIV epidemic,” CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald said in a statement “HIV is being diagnosed more quickly, the number of people who have the virus under control is up, and annual infections are down.”

Overall, however, the CDC estimates that 15 percent of those with the disease were unaware of their status.

The CDC recommends that anyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for the disease at least one in their lifetime. Those at higher risk are advised to get tested at least annually.

The report also found that more people at increased risk of HIV reported getting tested in the previous year, but that the number is still too low. According to the CDC, 29 percent of gay and bisexual men, 42 percent of people who inject drugs, and 59 percent of heterosexual people at increased risk for HIV said they did not get tested in the last year.

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