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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 5, 2008

Persons Tested for HIV—United States, 2006

JAMA. 2008;300(17):1990-1993. doi:10.1001/jama.300.17.1990

MMWR. 2008;57:845-849

1 figure, 2 tables omitted

Early diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection enables infected persons to obtain medical care that can improve the quality and length of their lives and adopt behaviors to prevent further HIV transmission. However, at the end of 2003, approximately one fourth of the estimated 1 million persons living with HIV remained unaware of their infection.1 Among all persons with HIV infection diagnosed in 2005, 38% received a diagnosis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) within 1 year of their first positive HIV test.2 To reduce the number of persons with undiagnosed HIV infection, CDC issued recommendations in September 2006 to implement HIV screening as part of routine medical care for all persons aged 13-64 years.3 To establish a baseline for evaluating the effects of these recommendations and other strategies to increase HIV testing, CDC analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that testing rates remained nearly flat during 2001-2006. In 2006, 40.4% (an estimated 71.5 million persons) of U.S. adults aged 18-64 years reported ever being tested for HIV infection. In addition, 10.4% (an estimated 17.8 million persons) reported being tested in the preceding 12 months, and 23% of persons who acknowledged having HIV risk factors reported being tested in the preceding 12 months. These findings indicate that many persons in the United States have never been tested for HIV infection. Health-care providers should routinely screen all patients aged 13-64 years for HIV in accordance with CDC recommendations.3 New strategies are warranted to increase HIV testing, particularly among persons who are disproportionately affected by HIV infection.