The median time between infection and diagnosis of HIV is narrowing, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. Nevertheless, the CDC stresses that delayed diagnosis of the virus is still troublingly high among certain groups.

The CDC published findings about HIV testing behaviors in a Vital Signs report that appeared in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report was based on data from the CDC’s National HIV Surveillance System as well as the agency’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS) surveys of men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs (PWID) and heterosexuals at high risk for the virus.

The CDC estimates that in 2014, 1.1 million people were living with HIV, 85 percent of whom were aware of their serostatus. For those testing positive in 2015, the estimated median time between infection and diagnosis was three years, compared with an estimated three years and seven months among those testing positive in 2011.

Additionally, the CDC found that the rate of HIV testing within one year has risen in recent years among MSM, PWID and high-risk heterosexuals alike. Nevertheless, in 2016, an estimated 29 percent, 42 percent and 59 percent of individuals in these three risk groups were not tested for the virus within 12 months according to the most recent NHBS surveys.

One in four people diagnosed with HIV in 2015 were infected more than seven years prior.

Of the 39,720 people diagnosed with HIV in 2015, the CDC estimates that one in four contracted the virus more than seven years prior. Broken down by demographic category, the respective proportion of total diagnoses falling into a particular group and the median estimated time since infection among that group were as follows: males, 81.3 percent and 3.1 years; females, 18.7 percent and 2.4 years; 13- to 24-year-olds, 22.5 percent and 2.4 years; 25- to 34-year-olds, 32.9 percent and 2.6 years; 35- to 44-year-olds, 19.3 percent and 3.5 years; 45- to 54-year-olds 15.9 percent and 4 years; those age 55 and older, 9.4 percent and 4.5 years; Asians, 2.4 percent and 4.2 years; Blacks, 43.6 percent and 3.3 years; Latinos, 24.4 percent and 3.3 years; whites, 26.3 percent and 2.2 years; MSM, 81.9 percent (of males) and 3 years; male PWID, 4.2 percent (of males) and 2.9 years; MSM who inject drugs, 3.9 percent (of males) and 2.1 years; male heterosexuals, 9.9 percent (of males) and 4.9 years; female PWID 13.5 percent (of females), 2 years; female heterosexuals 86.2 percent (of females) and 2.5 years.

To read the report, click here.

To read a press release about the report, click here.

To access a fact sheet about the report, click here.