CDC: Minority of HIV-Positive Young Adults Know They're Infected, Few Keep Up Treatment

Eugene McCray, director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) in the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, said the CDC has launched a series of awareness programs including HIV Treatment Works, which encourages people with HIV to seek and stay in medical care.

“It’s alarming that fewer than half of HIV-positive young adults know they are infected,” said McCray. “Closing that gap could have a huge impact on controlling HIV – knowing your status is the first critical step toward taking care of your own health and avoiding transmission to others.”

The CDC officials were asked why more individuals are not seeking testing or medical care.

“Taking treatment for an infection that may have no symptoms that you need to take for life is not easy; that’s why it’s so important that services for people living with HIV be easy to access without financial barriers,” Frieden responded.

When speculating why more people do not seek testing or treatment, Mermin said many factors should be considered, including a lack of health insurance, difficulty navigating the healthcare system, living in an urban setting, poverty and homelessness.

“Many of those factors can deter people from seeking or remaining in HIV care,” he said.