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In previous decades, few people sought HIV testing because it could be extremely inconvenient. Those who chose to get screened for the sexually transmitted disease had to go through an uncomfortable procedure and then wait weeks before they learned the results.
However, a new generation of HIV testing that can deliver results faster and are less invasive are helping to make screening a larger part of sexually active individuals' regular healthcare.
"We've actually had patients die before they could get their results," Ralph Belloise, director of HIV services at St. Barnabas Healthcare System, told the Wall Street Journal. "The more people who know their status, the more people we get into care, we decrease the community viral load and decrease the number of infections."
He added that rapid testing results allow doctors to refer patients who have tested positive to counselors and help them find treatment plans that could be effective.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are more than 1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV, and many of them are likely unaware of their condition.
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