Open Wide

Open Wide

Saturday, August 2, 2008

When Was the Last Time You Were Tested for HIV?

The New York Times is reporting from the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City that, because of a new test that can distinguish between new and longstanding HIV infections, the Centers for Disease Control may have been under-reporting the number of new HIV infections in the US each year for the past fifteen years. The number of people living with HIV could actually be 1.3 to 1.4 million instead of the 1 to 1.1 million it was believed to be until this study was done. Up to one quarter of those infected do not know they are HIV positive. Gay and bisexual men of all skin colors make up 53% of all new infections. Regardless of sexual orientation, blacks are seven times more likely than whites and hispanics are three times more likely than whites to become infected.

Also according the the NYT, the CDC has known of these study findings since October 2007 but held off communicating them to the rest of us until they could get them published in a major medical journal, the occurrence of which was intended to coincide with a press conference and much fanfare at a high-profile international event such as the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Two other journals refused to fast-track the article, but JAMA stepped up to the plate. However, the press conference in Mexico City was absolutely ruined when the press embargo was broken by public criticism from "a number of leading health experts" who were just hell bent on preventing as many new infections as possible.

1 comment:

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