Not knowing one's HIV status can have serious health consequences, according to another recent study published in the June 1, 2010, issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Keri Althoff from Johns Hopkins University and colleagues analyzed data from 44,491 HIV positive participants in the NA-ACCORD study, collected between January 1997 and December 2007.
The median age when first accessing HIV care increased over time, from 40 years in 1997 to 43 years in 2007. The median CD4 count also rose during this time span, from 256 to 317 cells/mm3. The percentage of people with a CD4 cell count of at least 350 cells/mm3 (the threshold for starting ART at the time of the analysis) increased from 38% in 1997 to 46% in 2007 -- but this still left 54% of participants eligible to start treatment when they first sought care. African Americans had a lower initial CD4 cell count than whites or Hispanics, on average, and they were more likely to be immediately eligible for ART.
Liz Highleyman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance medical writer based in San Francisco.
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