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Many people may only undergo one STD test in their lifetime. However, new evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the majority of people who test positive for HIV are diagnosed after an earlier screening. The numbers underscore the need for regular testing.
After examining public health data from 2006 through 2009, the CDC researchers found that 59 percent of HIV diagnoses were made in people who had been tested for the condition at an earlier date.
The researchers said the findings highlight the need for making HIV testing a part of regular healthcare. One negative test does not sufficiently indicate that a person has a low risk of becoming infected.
"Persons who are unaware of their HIV infection might not change their behavior to reduce the risk for transmission and will not be linked to care, resulting in worse health outcomes," the researchers wrote in their report.
Identifying people early is considered an important part of stopping the spread of the infection. HIV can be treated more effectively when it is diagnosed in its early stages and people may stop risky sexual practices when they find out they are infected.
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