30% of N.Y. HIV women get 'late' diagnosis

March 8, 2013 at 11:51 PM
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ALBANY, N.Y., March 8 (UPI) -- About 30 percent of New York women newly diagnosed with HIV find out "late," receiving an AIDS diagnosis at the same time or soon after, health officials say.

Dr. Nirav R. Shah, New York state commissioner of health, said people with human immunodeficiency virus receiving an AIDS diagnosis concurrently or within 12 months of their initial positive HIV test result have what is referred to as late diagnoses.

"The earlier an HIV infection is diagnosed, the better the prospects are for maintaining an individual in good health and for preventing further transmission," Humberto Cruz, director of the Department of Health's AIDS Institute, said in a statement. "I strongly encourage New Yorkers to discuss the issue of HIV and encourage people to get tested and practice safe sex."

Women should be tested for HIV if they have:

-- Had unprotected sex with someone whose status is unknown.

-- Been diagnosed with, or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis, or a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis.

-- Had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with multiple partners, anonymous partners or men who have sex with men.

-- Injected drugs or steroids or shared equipment such as needles, syringes and works; or exchanged sex for drugs or money.

"Raising public awareness of HIV is critical to ensuring that people take action to protect themselves against the disease," Shah said.

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