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This HIV Testing Day, Early Diagnosis and Access to Care Remain Critical in Response to HIV/AIDS

June 27, 2011 - Today, on HIV Testing Day, the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) urges everyone to get tested for HIV, a critical step in limiting the spread of HIV, connecting those who are infected with lifesaving care, and improving public health for everyone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV as a routine component of medical care. Yet one in five people who are infected in the United States do not know it, and many are diagnosed too late to benefit from treatment.

"We know early diagnosis through HIV testing, followed by effective care and treatment, saves lives and prevents HIV/AIDS from spreading," said HIVMA Chair Kathleen Squires, MD. "Advances in medical treatment now allow those who are infected-and diagnosed early-to live near-normal life spans. We must do more as a nation- through adequate funding for HIV prevention, testing, care, and research- to ensure that everyone has reliable access to HIV testing and the lifesaving care and treatment that can finally end this pandemic."

Thirty years after the first reported HIV/AIDS cases, more than 50,000 new cases of HIV occur annually in this country. Many people who are diagnosed with HIV infection and need care do not have access to it. About half of those living HIV who know their status and need medication are not receiving it on a regular basis. At the same time, clinics providing HIV care to uninsured and low-income patients are struggling to keep their doors open as patient loads have increased by more than 50 percent in recent years while federal funding has failed to keep pace.

In May, researchers announced the results of a major study from the National Institutes of Health, which found that HIV-infected men and women who were diagnosed and treated with antiretroviral drugs early, while their immune systems were still healthy, were 96 percent less likely to spread the infection to their partners. The results were clear: Early HIV diagnosis through testing, combined with the right care and treatment, can save lives and limit the spread of HIV.

"As we mark three decades of HIV/AIDS, this HIV Testing Day underscores the vital role HIV testing has," said HIVMA Chair-Elect Judith Aberg, MD, FIDSA. "With testing, however, also comes an obligation to ensure that everyone has early and reliable access to HIV care and treatment in the U.S. and throughout the globe."

For more information about HIV Testing Day, including how to find a testing site near you, visit http://www.hivtest.org.

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The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) is the professional home for more than 4,500 physicians, scientists, and other health care professionals dedicated to the field of HIV/AIDS. Nested within the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIVMA promotes quality in HIV care and advocates policies that ensure a comprehensive and humane response to the AIDS pandemic informed by science and social justice. For more information, visit www.hivma.org.www.hivma.org.

CONTACT:

Contact Name: John Heys
Contact E-mail: jheys@idsociety.org
Contact Phone: 703-299-0412



Reproduced with permission - "HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) "

HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA)
www.hivma.org


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