Delayed diagnosis of HIV infection continues to be a problem among gay men in England and Wales, investigators with the Health Protection Agency’s Center for Infections in London warn.
“Early HIV diagnosis is critical in getting HAART started, which is vital for survival and is likely to limit the spread of infection,” Dr. Timothy R. Chadborn told Reuters Health. “However, we estimated that almost one third of newly diagnosed homosexual men were diagnosed late with HIV between 1993 and 2002.”
The findings are based on over 14,000 case reports of men who have had sex with men.
Overall, homosexual men diagnosed late were about 10 times more likely to die within 1 year of their HIV diagnosis, according to a report in the March 25th issue of AIDS.
In 2001, one in four HIV-infected homosexual men in England and Wales were diagnosed late and 10 percent died within 1 year compared with less than 1 percent of those not diagnosed late.
In 2001, early diagnosis of HIV infection among homosexual men could have reduced the number of infected men who died within 1 year of diagnosis by 84 percent, and could have reduced all deaths related to HIV within 1 year by 22 percent.
“These results support recommendations for increased HIV testing for all men, alongside targeted, awareness-raising promotions,” Chadborn said.
SOURCE: AIDS March 25, 2005.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD