Despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment and care in many regions of the world, the AIDS pandemic claimed between 2.4 and 3.3 million lives in 2005, the highest number since 1981. Half a million or more than 570,000 of these deaths were children less than 15 years old.
The results of a nine country survey released in November 2007 in time for World AIDS Day on December 1st and involving more than 4500 interviews, revealed more than 40% of respondents did not believe that AIDS is always fatal. The countries included the US, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa. According to recent World Health Organization statistics, only 28% of the world's HIV/AIDS patients are receiving anti-retroviral drugs. In the United States:
- Approximately 40,000 new cases of HIV diagnosed each year
- Approximately 25% of all HIV cases remain unaware that they are HIV positive.
- Approximately 1/5th of US residents at high risk are tested
- Approximately half of the tests done are at the initiative of the individual and the other half are done at the initiative of a health care provider
- Many high-risk individuals plan to get tested but do not
- Minority females report the highest rates of testing and white males the lowest.
In 2006 the CDC made the following changes in test recommendations:
- Routine HIV screening for all patients 13-64 years old - regardless of risk level
- Annual screening for high risk individuals
- Test all individuals whose blood or body fluids are source of occupational exposures
- Simplification or elimination of pretest counseling and written consent procedures
- "Opt-out" testing to make HIV tests part of routine healthcare and remove the stigma of testing
- Screen all pregnant women early in pregnancy and repeat testing in the 3rd trimester if the women is at high risk or living in areas with high HIV prevalence.
If you have not already done so, perhaps now is the time to consider getting yourself and your partner tested, in order to know your baseline HIV status. For more information or to find an HIV testing site near you
- call 1-800-CDC-INFO 24 hours / day (English and Spanish)
- TTY 1-888-232-6348 (English and Spanish)
- Or visit the National HIV Testing Resources Web site at http://www.hivtest.org