Half of U.S. Adults Have Been Tested for HIV: CDC

CDC reported Thursday that nearly half of U.S. adults younger than 65 have been tested for HIV. The numbers show a need to further expand voluntary HIV testing and improve access to counseling and treatment, the agency said.

The estimate is based on data collected through the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. In 2001, more than 170,000 persons in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were asked if they had been tested for HIV, and their reasons for doing so. More than half of respondents in Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nevada, South Carolina, Virginia, the US Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C., said they had been tested. Fewer than 40 percent of respondents in Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia said they had been tested. In general, more women than men sought testing.

A CDC goal for 2005 is to boost the proportion of HIV-positive Americans who know they are infected to 95 percent, up from the current estimate of 70 percent. More than 816,000 cases of AIDS in the United States had been reported to CDC through December 2001.

The full report, "HIV Testing -- United States, 2001," was published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2003;52(23):540-545).

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