Most of the 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. every year are among gay and bisexual men, followed by heterosexual black women.
“We are not doing as well in America with HIV testing as we would like,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, CDC’s HIV prevention chief, said Monday.
The CDC recommends at least one routine test for everyone ages 13 to 64, starting two years younger than the task force recommended. That small difference aside, CDC data suggests fewer than half of adults under 65 have been tested.
“It can sometimes be awkward to ask your doctor for an HIV test,” Mermin said _ the reason that making it routine during any health care encounter could help.
But even though nearly three-fourths of gay and bisexual men with undiagnosed HIV had visited some sort of health provider in the previous year, 48 percent weren’t tested for HIV, a recent CDC survey found. Emergency rooms are considered a good spot to catch the undiagnosed, after their illnesses and injuries have been treated, but Mermin said only about 2 percent of ER patients known to be at increased risk were tested while there.
Mermin calls that “a tragedy. It’s a missed opportunity.”