According to a CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) report published yesterday, 156,300 out of 1.2 million Americans infected with HIV don’t realize that they have the disease. This means more than 13% of people living with HIV are not in a position of preventing worsening of HIV symptoms and protecting others from developing the infection.
The report has been published two days before the National HIV Testing Day. Every year, the AIDS.GOV program of the US Department of Health & Human Service organizes this event on June 27.
To make the scenario better for HIV patients and their families, the White House set a goal to ensure that a minimum of 90% Americans suffering from HIV realize that they have the infection. As of 2012, just four states, New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Delaware have succeeded in achieving that goal.
Colorado couldn’t make the list, but came very close around 89.7% HIV-infected individuals in the state have already been diagnosed with the condition.
According to researchers, seven other states, Maine, Montana, Idaho, New Hampshire, Alaska, Vermont and North Dakota, might also have met the target of 90%. However, these states didn’t have enough fresh cases of the infection in the past few years for being considered when making estimates.
According to the CDC report, around 87% of HIV patients in the United States know that they have the disease. The researchers have put forward that figure based on data gathered from the 41 US states (as well as the District of Columbia), in which a minimum of 60 fresh cases of HIV emerged every year on average, between the years 2008 and 2012.
The state where the level of HIV awareness was lowest was Louisiana; only 77% of HIV-infected individuals in the state knew that they had the condition.
It’s important to start HIV drug treatment quickly; a recently conducted international clinical trial suggests that starting antiretroviral treatment immediately can reduce the risk of serious illness and death from the condition by as much as 53%. Identifying the infection early is also important because people who have HIV, but are not aware of it, can spread the infection to others.