HIV-Testing Program Finds 18K New Cases

But more than 200K have infection without knowing it
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 24, 2011 9:38 AM CDT
A lab worker organizes blood samples to be tested for HIV.   (AP Photo/Luis Romero)

(Newser) – An estimated 240,000 people in America have HIV without knowing it, but that figure is dropping after three years of targeted testing among high-risk populations, the Washington Post reports. The $111 million program, carried out in ERs, venereal disease clinics, and drug-treatment centers around the US found 18,000 people with the illness. “This is a considerable boost to the nation’s health. Did it make a difference to America? I think it did,” said a top CDC official.

The program tested patients in the 25 cities and states with the highest infection rates and focused particularly on African-Americans, who account for about half of all new infections. The positive outcome of the program: Many more can get "treatment without which almost all would die,” said the CDC official. What’s more, those who know they have the illness are less likely to transmit it.

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