Thu, May 17, 2018 - Page 4 News List

CDC to continue promoting early HIV diagnosis

Staff writer, with CNA

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is to continue to promote early diagnosis of HIV infection by expanding the availability of rapid HIV testing services, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said on Tuesday.

The CDC has since last year been distributing rapid HIV self-test kits through various channels, including vending machines and online orders that can picked up from convenience stores, to reduce the rate of late HIV infection diagnosis, Lo said.

The CDC would also continue to increase the availability of anonymous HIV testing, Lo told a legislative session in Taipei.

Lo was responding to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Arthur Chen’s (陳宜民) remark that most people infected with HIV do not develop symptoms until eight to 10 years after being infected.

About 2,500 new HIV-positive cases were reported annually in Taiwan between 2014 and last year, 34 percent of whom developed symptoms within a year of reporting their cases, Chen said.

The figure shows the prevalence of late HIV diagnosis and delayed HIV treatment in the nation, Chen added.

Without treatment, HIV infection usually results in AIDS.

The CDC’s measures against HIV are focused on reducing new infections through prevention, Lo said, adding that in combination with early detection, the CDC is working to help people with HIV receive treatment.

However, the rate of late diagnosis and delayed treatment has persisted over the past few years, and about 21 percent of people with HIV remain unaware of their infection, Lo said.

Therefore, the CDC would continue to make HIV tests easily accessible, private and convenient, particularly for young people, Lo added.

From January to last month, the number of new reported HIV cases fell 25 percent compared with the same period last year, the first decline in more than 10 years, Lo said.

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