CDC increases HIV testing program

April 2, 2010 at 12:43 AM
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ATLANTA, April 2 (UPI) -- More than $31 million has been added to a U.S. program to aid people, especially those at risk, to be tested for HIV, federal health officials said.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said with the additional funds the program should total approximately $142.5 million over the next three years.

State and local health departments across the country will receive the additional funds to increase access to testing and early diagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus.

The initiative was designed to increase testing and knowledge of HIV status among African-American men and women, but the expanded program will reach out to more jurisdictions and at-risk populations, including gay and bisexual men, Latinos and injection drug users.

"HIV testing is a crucial step in reducing new HIV infections, so that those infected with HIV can be linked to medical care and ongoing support to help them maintain safer behaviors," Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Tuberculosis Prevention, said in a statement. "This expansion will help ensure that more Americans have access to what could be life-saving information about their HIV status."

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