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Time From HIV Infection to Diagnosis in the U.S., 2014–2018

      Introduction

      Understanding the role of sociologic, structural, and biomedical factors that influence the length of time from HIV infection to diagnosis and reducing the time from infection to diagnosis are critical for achieving the goals of the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. In a retrospective analysis, the length of time from HIV infection to diagnosis and its association with individual- and facility-level attributes are determined.

      Methods

      Data reported by December 2019 to the U.S. National HIV Surveillance System for people with HIV diagnosed during 2014–2018 were analyzed during December 2020. A CD4 depletion model was used to estimate the time from HIV infection to diagnosis.

      Results

      During 2018, the median time from HIV infection to diagnosis was shorter for those infections diagnosed using the rapid testing algorithm (30.3 months, 95% CI=25.5, 34.5) than those diagnosed using the recommended (41.0 months, 95% CI=39.5, 42.0), traditional (37.0 months, 95% CI=29.5, 43.5), or other (35.5 months, 95% CI=32.5, 38.0) diagnostic testing algorithms. From 2014 to 2018, the time from HIV infection to diagnosis remained stable overall for all testing methods except for the traditional diagnostic testing algorithm. In multivariate analyses, those more likely to have HIV diagnosed closer to the time of infection were younger, were White, had transmission risk factors of injection drug use or heterosexual contact (for female individuals) or male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use, or had HIV diagnosed at a correctional or screening facility (p<0.01).

      Conclusions

      Providing access to expanded testing, including rapid testing in nonclinical settings, is likely to result in a decrease in the length of time a person is unaware of their HIV infection and thus reduce onward transmission of HIV infection.
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