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A new study from University of Colorado researchers has found that women, non-whites and residents of the South tend to have poorer outcomes following an HIV diagnosis. The report underscores the importance of HIV testing for individuals in these high-risk groups.
For the study, researchers followed more than 2,000 patients who had been diagnosed with HIV or AIDS for a period of 10 years. They tracked the number of medical problems the participants encountered that were related to their infection.
The data showed that women had the poorest health as a result of becoming infected with HIV regardless of race. However, non-white women had it the worst. Disease-related events occurred in 64 percent of these participants, which was much higher than in any other group. The researchers said that this was surprising because female HIV patients tend to maintain higher T cell counts following diagnosis.
Researchers said that their findings may help public health officials build a more complete picture of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, enabling them to target their resources where they are most needed.
"Understanding the causes of poor health outcomes among HIV-infected women, nonwhites and people from the South is a critical first step," said Amie Meditz, who headed the study. "In addition, development of strategies or interventions to improve health outcomes in these populations is essential."
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