Improving Linkage to Care in HIV Testing for Women

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Among HIV-infected women, 62% had received an HIV diagnosis before the current test, but 87% of those women were not in HIV medical care.
Among HIV-infected women, 62% had received an HIV diagnosis before the current test, but 87% of those women were not in HIV medical care.

HealthDay News — A high percentage of women receiving a new HIV diagnosis have already received this diagnosis in the past but are not undergoing HIV medical care, according to a study published online in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Renee Stein, PhD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 61 state and local health departments and 123 community-based organizations. De-identified program data about HIV testing and related services in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands were submitted through a secure, online, CDC-supported system.

The researchers found that 48% of 3,020,068 CDC-funded HIV tests provided in 2015 were administered to women. Tests were most commonly provided to women who were aged 20 to 29 years (41%), black (49%), living in the South (62%), living in medium- and high- prevalence jurisdictions (97%), and received testing in health care facilities (83%). 

Among HIV-infected women, 62% had received an HIV diagnosis before the current test, but 87% of those women were not in HIV medical care at the time of the test. Linkage to medical care within 90 days of the new diagnosis occurred in 61% of newly diagnosed and 58% of previously diagnosed women.

"To reduce and eventually eliminate HIV infection among women in the United States, HIV testing programs need to improve early linkage to HIV medical care among HIV-positive women who are not in care, regardless of their known HIV status at the time of testing," write the authors.

Reference

Stein R, Xu S, Marano M, et al. HIV testing, linkage to HIV medical care, and interviews for partner services among women- 61 health department jurisdictions, United States, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66(41):1100-1104.



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