More than 18 000 persons were newly diagnosed with HIV infection during a 3-year federal program designed to promote routine testing for HIV infection, making it possible for them to receive care that could improve their own health and reduce their risk of transmitting HIV to others.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the results of its Expanded HIV Testing Initiative (ETI) today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. During the program’s 3 years, nearly 3 million tests were performed and 29 503 were positive, including 18 432 individuals who were unaware they had the infection.
The initiative was launched in 2007 after the CDC recommended that patients aged 13 to 64 years be routinely screened for HIV in health care settings where the prevalence of undiagnosed infections is 0.1% or greater. Earlier, testing usually was targeted based on individual risk factors. But as the epidemic’s demographics changed, screening recommendations went beyond individual risks.
The ETI was intended to supplement existing HIV testing programs and identify more undiagnosed infections, especially among disproportionately affected groups, blacks in particular. The CDC provided $111 million to health departments in 25 US jurisdictions to focus on routine screening in clinical settings with high HIV prevalence.
At ETI testing sites from 2007 to 2010, men accounted for about 55% of all HIV tests and 72% of new HIV diagnoses. Blacks received 60% of all HIV tests and 70% of new HIV diagnoses. About 90% of tests were given in clinical settings, including hospital emergency departments and sexually transmitted disease clinics. Nonclinical settings included community-based organizations.
Individuals tested in clinical settings were more likely to get their test results and be linked with medical care services than those tested in nonclinical settings. CDC officials said ETI results suggest that partnerships among health departments, clinical care professionals, and community organizations should continue to implement routine HIV screening programs and ensure that newly diagnosed individuals are directed into medical care.