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Frequency of HIV Testing and Time from Infection to Diagnosis

Many people still have HIV for years before they know it

A new CDC Vital Signs report published today finds that HIV is being diagnosed sooner after infection than was previously reported. According to the report, the estimated median time from HIV infection to diagnosis was three years in 2015. CDC previously estimated that, in 2011, the median time from HIV infection to diagnosis was three years and seven months.

The seven-month improvement is a considerable decrease over a four-year period and reinforces other recent signs that the nation’s approach to HIV prevention is paying off.

The Vital Signs analysis also found that the percent of people at increased risk for HIV who reported getting an HIV test the previous year has increased. Despite that progress, too few are tested.

The Vital Signs analysis suggests that, without increased testing, many people living with undiagnosed HIV may not know they have HIV for many years.

CDC recommends testing all people ages 13-64 for HIV at least once in their lifetime, and people at higher risk for HIV at least annually.

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD

Biography

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD

“These findings are more encouraging signs that the tide continues to turn on our nation’s HIV epidemic. HIV is being diagnosed more quickly, the number of people who have the virus under control is up, and annual infections are down. So while we celebrate our progress, we pledge to work together to end this epidemic forever.

Brenda Fitzgerald, MD – Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH

Biography

Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH

“If you are at risk for HIV, don’t guess — get a test. The benefits are clear. Prompt diagnosis is prevention. It is the first step to protecting people living with HIV and their partners.”

Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH – Director, CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention

Eugene McCray, MD

Biography

Eugene McCray, MD

“Ideally, HIV is diagnosed within months of infection, rather than years later. Further increasing regular HIV testing and closing testing, diagnoses and treatment gaps is essential to stopping HIV in our communities.”

Eugene McCray, MD – Director, CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention

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