CDC: Individuals With High HIV Risk Not Screened Often Enough

June 22, 2018

Individuals with a high risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are not screened often enough, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Researchers at the CDC arrived at this conclusion following a survey of 15,956 noninstitutionalized US adults aged 18 years and older.

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A total of 11,896 (74.6%) respondents were included in the present analysis, the results of which indicated that the median number of days since last HIV test were as follows:

  • Individuals with recent HIV risk: 512 days
    • Women with high HIV risk: 416 days
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM): 459 days
    • Other men with high HIV risk: 610 days
  • Individuals with no recent HIV risk: 1360 days

Current CDC guidelines first issued in 2006 recommend that all individuals aged 13 to 64 years receive one-time screening for HIV, and that individuals with an elevated risk for HIV receive annual rescreening. Persons with an increased risk for HIV include:

  • Individuals who inject drugs and their sex partners
  • Those who exchange sex for money or drugs
  • Sex partners of individuals with HIV
  • Sexually active gay, bisexual, and other MSM
  • Heterosexual individuals who themselves or whose sex partners have had more than 1 sex partner since their most recent HIV test.

This recommendation was reiterated by the CDC in 2017.

“Early diagnosis and effective treatment that suppresses HIV replication not only reduces individual morbidity and mortality but also reduces the risk for transmission to others,” the authors of the report wrote. “Delayed diagnosis limits the benefits of early treatment initiation to minimize immune system damage and prevent HIV transmission.”

—Christina Vogt


Pitasi M, Delaney KP, Oraka E, et al. Interval since last HIV test for men and women with recent risk for HIV infection — United States, 2006-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(24):677-681.