When a person with HIV is diagnosed early on, their chances of successful treatment are much higher. The progression of the disease can be slowed when it is identified early and the person is less likely to pass the infection to others. This is why HIV testing is so important.
Despite the importance of testing, many people have never been screened. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HIV testing be included as part of the standard healthcare of everyone between the ages of 13 and 64. Still only about 54 percent of those between ages 18 and 64 report ever having been tested.
The number of people who have been tested is significantly lower throughout much of the Midwest. Only 23.8 percent of North Dakota residents have been tested, while just 23.5 percent of South Dakota residents report being screened, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Rates are similarly low in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.
HIV testing plays an important role in preventing the spread of infections. Despite the warnings of pubic health groups, many individuals still fail to get themselves screened. Encouraging more people to get tested may lead to lower rates of the incurable disease.