National HIV Testing Day: Prevention and Care Achieved Through Improved Testing Rates

June 27th 2017

The CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, which monitors behaviors among populations at high risk for HIV, indicated that individuals at risk for HIV are receiving testing at shorter intervals than in the past, according to a report published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance, which monitors behaviors among populations at high risk for HIV, indicated that individuals at risk for HIV are receiving testing at shorter intervals than in the past, according to a report published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.1

National HIV Testing Day, on June 27, promotes awareness of the importance of testing in the prevention and care of HIV infection. Data from CDC-funded HIV testing and prevention services indicated that linkage of young men who have sex with men (MSM) with HIV to medical care falls short of the national goal for 2020.2

The 2020 national goal is to link at least 85% of individuals with HIV to HIV medical care within 30 days of diagnosis. According to the analysis, 66% of youths who tested positive for HIV were linked to this care within 90 days of diagnosis. Linkage rates were shown to be lowest in the South, where HIV disproportionally affects youths.

HIV testing and care services are important to diagnosing the virus, linking individuals to proper medical care, and preventing transmission to others. According to the CDC’s report, a national surveillance study concluded that 92% of new HIV infections in 2009 were acquired from individuals with HIV who were not in medical care.

The researchers noted that increased HIV testing among youths, particularly in MSM, is essential for reducing rates of infection in high-risk populations. A combined strategy of routine testing in youths in health care settings and targeted testing in places where youths at risk for HIV often congregate can be effective in increasing linkage to care. Additionally, schools can facilitate access to testing for school-aged youth.

Pharmacists can play an important role in encouraging routine testing among high-risk patients and helping those with HIV maintain adherence to their treatments. Tailored strategies can ensure that individuals testing positive for HIV are receiving appropriate medical care and early initiation of antiretroviral therapy.

Reference

1. National HIV Testing Day — June 27, 2017.MMWR.June 23, 2017. 66(24);629.https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6624a1.htm?s_cid=mm6624a1_w

2. Stein R, Song W, Marano M, et al. HIV Testing, Linkage to HIV Medical Care, and Interviews for Partner Services Among Youths — 61 Health Department Jurisdictions, United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 2015.MMWR. June 23, 2017. 66(24);629-635.https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6624a2.htm?s_cid=mm6624a2_w

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