Today, people aware of their human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV) status may be able to live longer and healthier
lives because of newly available, effective treatments.
Testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is essential
so that infected individuals can seek appropriate care.
HIV testing requires only a simple blood or saliva test,
and it is often offered through confidential or anonymous
sources. It is recommended that people who meet any of the
following criteria be tested for HIV: have injected drugs
or steroids, or shared drug use equipment (such as needles)
with others; have had unprotected sex with men who have
sex with men, anonymous partners, or multiple partners;
have exchanged sex for drugs or money; have been diagnosed
with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or a sexually transmitted
infection; received a blood transfusion between 1978 and
1985; or have had unprotected sex with anyone who meets
any of the previous criteria.1
In 2005, just over 35 percent of adults
in the United States had ever been tested for HIV. Overall,
women were more likely than men to have been tested (37.7
versus 32.7 percent). Women were more likely to have been
tested at younger ages, while men were more likely to have
been tested at older ages. This difference may be due in
part to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
guidelines that recommend HIV testing for pregnant women.
In 2006, new CDC guidelines were released that recommend
all health care providers include HIV testing as part of
their patientsí routine health care. Among women, in 2005,
non-Hispanic Blacks had the highest testing rate (52.5 percent),
followed by Hispanics (47.3 percent). Non-Hispanic White
women had the lowest rate (33.5 percent).