Arizona: Federal Government's New Guidelines Call for Widespread HIV Tests
September 29, 2006
To reach the one in four Americans with HIV who are not aware they are infected, CDC now recommends routine opt-out testing for people ages 13-64 in clinical settings.
Between 2000 and 2004, 72 percent of Arizona HIV/AIDS diagnoses were in Maricopa County, and 15 percent were in Pima County. Local and state data show most new infections are being acquired through unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Most new diagnoses were among people ages 35-44. Nearly 15 percent were co-infected with hepatitis C or with an STD. Black Arizona residents accounted for a disproportionate 12 percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses over the last five years.
Pima County has an estimated 2,025 HIV/AIDS cases, and HIV/AIDS diagnoses have decreased from 17.2 per 100,000 residents annually to 12.9, according to state data. In 2004, 17 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses were made in females and 96 in males. Blacks comprise 3.5 percent of the county's population but have a disproportionate 46 cases per 100,000 people.
"We would expect there to be an estimated 675 additional, unreported cases of HIV infection in Pima County," said Robert Bailey, Arizona HIV/AIDS epidemiologist.
"We can get medications for everybody who needs them," said Dr. J. Kevin Carmichael, an HIV/AIDS specialist at El Rio Health Center. "That is not the issue. The issue is, you can't get treated for HIV unless you know you have it." "We're not seeing people until it's too late," he said. "Most people don't come into care until their immune function is critically low and they have full-blown AIDS, which is a challenge to treat." They are also at the highest risk for AIDS mortality.
Pima County's STD/HIV clinic charges $10 for HIV tests but waives the fee for patients who cannot pay. Telephone 520-791-7676 to schedule a test, or 520-628-8801 for help with partner notification or a treatment referral.
09.25.2006; Sheryl Kornman
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.