The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding its HIV testing program with a $31.5 million initiative that will launch in September. But total funds directed toward testing programs in the next three years could total $142.5 million. The money will be distributed to state and local health departments to boost access to testing and promote early HIV diagnosis.

The new initiative will focus primarily on men who have sex with men (MSM) as well as 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,” said Kevin Fenton, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.  “This expansion will help ensure that more Americans have access to what could be lifesaving information about their HIV status.”

In the first two years of the CDC’s current HIV testing initiative—which began in 2007 and ends this September—more than 10,000 people were newly diagnosed, and 75 percent of them were linked to care. Most of the people tested, 62 percent, were African American.