Local 12: National HIV Testing Day is Monday, June 27

UC expert says HIV testing most likely decreased due to COVID-19

Monday, June 27 is National HIV Testing Day and a new report says getting tested may be more important than ever in this pandemic time. In a story posted by WKRC-TV, Local 12, Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine was interviewed about a shows a drop in new cases of HIV being diagnosed during the pandemic. While usually this would be celebrated by infectious disease specialists, in this case, it appears it poses a new danger.

“I’m not convinced HIV numbers are going down, but testing is going down,” said Fichtenbaum.

This newly released CDC report shows nationwide new cases of HIV dropped 17% in the first year of the pandemic. Even before the pandemic began the CDC estimated more than a million people were living with HIV in the U.S. and almost 13% were unaware of it. Now that number could be even higher.

“So, then the question is, will those missing people be transmitting to others because they don’t realize they have it,” said Fichtenbaum.

“I think what happens is you get sick with a cold and a flu, and a feel, bad, and given that we’ve had a COVID pandemic people may even think they had COVID,” said Dr. Fichtenbaum.

Fichtenbaum says just as with COVID-19 people often recover quickly and feel better when your body begins to control the HIV infection.

“The virus doesn’t go away, and you’re still able to transmit it to other people, you’re still contagious,” said Fichtenbaum.

See the entire story here.

Lead photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand

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