FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      

December 6, 2011                                                                               Contact: Nikki Reen (267.295.3859 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

New Data Present Stark Disparities in HIV Testing Among Adults  

PHILADELPHIA – When NBA superstar Magic Johnson received an HIV diagnosis in 1991, he used the opportunity to create a platform for HIV/AIDS awareness. Despite the decades of work by Johnson and other HIV/AIDS activists, successfully convincing Americans to go for regular HIV testing remains a challenge for public health professionals though the AIDS epidemic continues. In the United States alone, between 35,000 and 40,000 people become infected with HIV every year.* Additionally, of the 1.2 million people currently living with HIV in this country, about 240,000 (20%) do not know that they are HIV positive.**

In commemoration of World AIDS Day on December 1st, PHMC is releasing startling new data from its Community Health Data Base 2010 Household Health Survey. The data show that, while many Pennsylvanians are getting testing for HIV, many more are not. “We want to urge every person to take the time to get tested for HIV,” says research associate Sarah Ingerman. “Together, we can defeat this epidemic.”

Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to comprise the most severely effected group, accounting for nearly half of the people in the United States living with HIV and recording more than half of (61% or an estimated 29,300 infections) of the new infections each year.***  Keeping this in mind, CHBD continues to partner with organizations that offer HIV testing, such as the Mazzoni Center, which offers a full array of LGBT-focused primary health care services, mental and behavioral health services, and LGBT legal services and an array of other programs to more than 30,000 individuals annually. “Through our collaboration with the Mazzoni Center, we hope to increase the rate of HIV testing in Southeastern Pennsylvania,” says Ingerman.

Data Analysis of Adults in Southeastern PA Never Tested for HIV

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HIV testing as part of routine medical exams for adults in the US, CHDB data show that in Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) nearly one-half (48.4%)of adults age 18 an older have never been tested for HIV, representing an estimated 1.4 million adults in the region. Additionally:

  • While 38.5% of Philadelphia adults have never been tested for HIV, more than one-half of adults living in Montgomery (55.6%), Bucks (55.3%), Chester (55.3%), and Delaware (50.9%) Counties have never been tested.
  • The likelihood of having never been tested for HIV increases with age—29.5% of 18-39 year olds, 37.4% of 40-49 year olds, 53.8% of 50-59 year olds, 71.2% of 60-74 year olds, and 83.1% of adults 75 and older have never been tested.
  • White and Asian adults are more likely to have never been tested for HIV (57.0% and 50.6%, respectively), compared with more than one-quarter of Black (27.2%) and Latino (28.6%) adults.
  • About one-third of adults living below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line (34.1%) have never been tested for HIV, while 51.6% of non-poor people have never been tested.

Data Analysis of Adults in Southeastern PA Tested for HIV

More than one-fifth of adults in SEPA (21.5%) have been tested for HIV within the past year, representing approximately 619,000 adults in the region. Additionally:

  • Nearly one-third of adults living in Philadelphia (30.4%) received an HIV test within the previous year. In the surrounding suburban SEPA counties, smaller percentages of adults have been recently tested for HIV: 20.8% of adults in Delaware County, 15.4% of adults in Bucks County, 14.7% of adults in Montgomery County, and 13.8% of adults in Chester County have been tested for HIV in the previous year.
  • The likelihood of being tested within the previous year for HIV decreases with age: 35.1% of 18-39 year olds, 20.7% of 40-49 year olds, 15.7% of 50-59 year olds, 10.3% of 60-74 year olds and 8.3% of 75 year olds and older have been tested within the past year.
  • About one-third of adults with less than a high school education (29.0%) received an HIV test within the previous year compared with 24.1% of high school graduates, 23.0% of adults with some college, 19.5% of college graduates, and 14.9% of adults with post-college schooling.
  • Over two-fifths of Black adults (41.2%) received an HIV test within the previous year, followed by Latino (37.5%), Asian (16.2%), and White (13.9%) adults in the region.
  • More than one-third of adults living below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line (34.9%) have been tested for HIV in the previous year compared with less than one-fifth of non-poor adults (18.4%).

 To access the full findings on HIV testing in Southeastern Pennsylvania and learn more about CHDB’s collaboration with the Mazzoni Center, contact Sarah Ingerman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267.350.7695.

References:

*CDC. 2008. Diagnoses of HIV Infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/surveillance/resources/reports/2008report/index.htm

 **CDC. 2011. HIV Surveillance—United States, 1981-2008. MMWR 60(21: 698-693.

 ***CDC Fact Sheet September 2011.  HIV and AIDs among Gay and Bisexual Men.

 http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/docs/fastfacts-msm-final508comp.pdf

 

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About CHDB

Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of North Penn, CIGNA Foundation, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, Philadelphia Foundation, North Penn Community Health Foundation, the Thomas Scattergood Foundation and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors help to support CHDB. To view previous data news releases, please click here. For more information, please visit www.chdbdata.org.

About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce.  PHMC has served the region since 1972.