Health | local | Vital Signs

CDC: Majority Of Young People With HIV Don't Know They Are Infected

OPB | Nov. 27, 2012 2:10 p.m. | Updated: June 7, 2013 10:21 a.m.

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Sixty percent of young people with HIV have no idea they’re infected — according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study found that only 13 percent of high school students are tested for HIV. Thirty-five percent of adults under 25 are tested. 

A finger-prick HIV test being administered.

A finger-prick HIV test being administered.

Health Resources and Services Administration

Doctor Roger Chou of OHSU did the scientific evidence review for the study and says young adults — between 15 and 29 — are the only age group where HIV infections are increasing. 

He explained, “They often aren’t diagnosed for seven to ten years. That’s kind of the typical time frame. So that’s seven to ten years where they’re a potential source of infection for other people. And also they’re immune systems are getting shut down slowly over time.”

The study found that the young people most affected by HIV are gay and bisexual men, and African-Americans. 

CDC director Thomas Frieden called the problem a preventable tragedy. He said young people can protect their health by learning their HIV status and then avoiding transmitting the virus, if they have it. 

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