New York City’s HIV-Infected Testing Earlier
August 23, 2006
People testing for HIV in New York City-operated clinics and hospitals are being diagnosed earlier during their course of infection, according to data released during the 16th International AIDS Conference.
Among 3,464 blood samples collected from June 1, 2000, to December 31, 2004, and tested using a de-tuned assay able to identify those occurring within six months, recent infections increased from 14.6 percent to 32.3 percent of all HIV-positive diagnoses. The study said the increase in newly identified infections was gradual and significant.
Among gay and bisexual men, the rate of new infections "rose significantly" from 21.4 percent to 43.1 percent of positive diagnoses. Significantly higher rates of new infections were "observed among blacks, Hispanics and persons age 25 and over," said the report. Among females, new infections rose from 15.3 percent to 19.6 percent of positive tests, which was statistically insignificant.
"These trends may be evidence of successful efforts for case finding and increasing awareness of HIV status in [New York City], leading to more timely diagnosis of HIV and improved ascertainment of incidence by the surveillance system," concluded the study.
"I think what you're seeing here are routine testers that are risked-based testers," said Dr. Lucia V. Torian, director of the city health department's HIV epidemiology program. "You are also seeing the effect of a city push to encourage routine testing and the effect of rollout of rapid testing in 2004," she said. "The sample is drawn from people testing at city sites only. I think it would be very hard to draw any conclusions about that sample."
Gay City News (New York),
08.17.2006; Duncan Osborne