HIV testing has fallen sharply among key groups during the first year of the Covid pandemic

New CDC data published ahead of National HIV Testing Day (Monday, June 27) show a sharp decline in the number of CDC-funded HIV testing performed in healthcare and non-healthcare settings (43% and 50%, respectively) from 2019 to 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. These particular drops were seen in groups disproportionately affected by HIV, highlighting the urgent need to scale up testing and reduce inequalities among those who can most benefit from HIV prevention and care.

In non-healthcare settings – where people being tested for HIV provide information about race/ethnicity and transmission – reported HIV testing rejections:

  • 49% among gay and bisexual men
  • 47% among transgender people
  • 46% among Hispanics and Latinos
  • 44% among black people

To compensate for HIV testing and missed diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC is encouraging partnerships between state and local health departments, community organizations and health care systems to improve access to HIV testing services, including strategies such as self-testing and routine opt-out screening. in healthcare institutions.

HIV testing is the bridge to highly effective treatment and prevention. Delayed diagnoses can lead to negative health consequences and increased HIV transmission. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get yourself tested for HIV at least once and that some people are tested at least annually.

While the full impact of COVID-19 on HIV is not yet known, these worrying findings contribute to: recent CDC data which showed a sharp decline in HIV diagnoses and delayed pre-exposure prophylaxis prescriptions from 2019 to 2020.

To meet fast-approaching national goals to end the HIV epidemic, the nation must accelerate efforts to protect health and expand access to proven HIV prevention tools across the country, including targeted, innovative local efforts through the federal government. Ending the HIV Epidemic in the US initiative (EHE). Emphasizing the role of routine testing, the EHE initiative aims to reduce disparities between the populations most affected by HIV.

To help communities move forward with EHE, the President has requested $850 million in FY 2023. These funds are critical. Efforts urgently need to be stepped up to equip communities with the resources they need to get back on track and meet national goals.

Attribute the following quote to Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH,

Director of CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

“We welcomed 2020 with optimism. New HIV infections decreasedand the attention for HIV increased. But just as COVID-19 disrupted our lives, it changed the course of HIV prevention. Now we are at a crossroads. Will we accept the massive decline in HIV testing, or will we bounce back stronger?”

Attribute the following quote to Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH,

Director of CDC’s HIV Prevention Division

“Everyone should enjoy good health — and getting an HIV test is part of a successful plan to do so. Some people may not be tested for many reasons, including concerns about HIV stigma, homophobia, transphobia, and many other isms and phobias. Or they may not know that an HIV test could help them. We must continue to work together to overcome these and other factors that stand in the way of equitable HIV prevention and care.”

Find an HIV test

National HIV Test Day is held every year on June 27 to encourage people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and be linked to care and treatment. Find Fast, Free, Confidential HIV Tests at CDCs Get tested or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636). HIV self-tests can be purchased at a pharmacy or online, or you can check to see if your local health department or other organization offers a quick self-test for a discounted price or for free.

Additional Resources

CDC Media Fact Sheet: The State of the HIV Epidemic in the US

The CDC’s Role in the Federal Initiative “Ending the HIV Epidemic in the US”

CDC Media Factsheet: HIV and Black/African American People in the US

CDC Media Fact Sheet: HIV and Hispanic and Latino People in the US

CDC National HIV Testing Day Resource Library

/CDC release. This material from the original organisation/author(s) may be of a point in time, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions are those of the author(s). View full here

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