Free HIV Testing in Colorado

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Colorado is a U.S. State in the western part of the country known for its Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and the Great plains. In terms of area, Colorado ranks 8th and 21st of the 50 states in terms of population. According to U.S. Census Bureau, estimates in, 2019 the total population of Colorado is 5.7 million.

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HIV remains a persistent problem for the United States of America and Colorado. Since the past few decades, considerable progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, but there are many gaps still to be filled. The virus first found its way to America in the 70s, and in no time, it was declared an epidemic by health officials. Populations such as gay and bisexual men, Black Americans, and Hispanics remain disproportionately affected by the virus in the country.

According to the Center for Disease and Control, CDC in 2015, an estimated 353 individuals were newly diagnosed with HIV. CDC has ranked Colorado 25th among all the 50 states in terms of HIV diagnosis.

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Why Testing Matters?

Human Immuno Deficiency Virus, commonly known as HIV, is one of the deadliest viruses known as the virus that directly attacks the human body's immune system. The virus during the initial stages doesn't have any symptoms, and when the symptoms appear, the disease will be already progressed to AIDS.

According to CDC, by the end of 2018, a total of 1.2 million people were newly diagnosed with HIV. Of the total newly diagnosed cases, 14%, one in every seven individuals didn't know they had HIV. CDC recommends that all American residents to get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. The recommendations vary for people living in HIV-populated areas. If individuals live in places where the prevalence of the virus is more, testing for HIV annually is recommended.

Early testing and diagnosis save a person from further complications. HIV-related mortality is three folds higher in cases of late treatment and diagnosis. The transmission modes include unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person, using contaminated syringes and needles, or exchanging bodily fluids.

HIV Rates in Colorado

According to United States Census Bureau, the total population of Colorado in 2019 was 5.7 million. During the year 2015, the total number of newly diagnosed cases in Colorado was 37. Colorado has been ranked 25th of the 50 U.S. states to have more HIV-positive cases.

As per the data from AIDSvu’s year 2018 HIV/AIDS report, the numbers slowly increased to 399 newly diagnosed cases in 2018. The total number of people living with HIV in Colorado was 12,696. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 population in Colorado during 2018 was 265.

HIV Initiatives in Colorado

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has designed a Colorado HIV Alliance for Prevention, Care, and Treatment for the prevention, care, and awareness of HIV. This Program provides state-wide collaboration and data sharing with other HIV/AIDS service providers in the state for treatment and early intervention services. It also provides insurance services, medical and mental health services.

Colorado Health Network is a state-wide organization that provides services to over 5,250 individuals who currently struggle with HIV-related health issues. The organization supports people living with HIV to provide medical insurance, emergency and case treatment, financial assistance, nutrition services, and financial assistance. HIV testing and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis services are also included.

AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, ADAP, Colorado is a federally funded, state-wide initiative especially for low-income people living with HIV. The Program covers costs of medications, insurance, hospitalization, and other prescription services to an individual who cannot afford to get it otherwise.

Ryan White Part B is a federal initiative to support low-income groups living with HIV. Funds received through this Program are disbursed to local organizations that provide medications and outpatient services to people living with HIV. The Program also covers medical insurance and housing services. Services like emergency ambulatory services, counseling and awareness to general public about the prevention and treatment of HIV are also provided.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

According to Colorado Health Institute, Denver, Colorado, has the highest number of HIV cases. HIV/AIDS report indicates that 12,696 people were living with HIV in Colorado in 2018. Three hundred ninety-nine adults and adolescents were newly diagnosed in 2018 alone. The same report shows that the rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 people was 265.

The virus disproportionately affected the male residents of Colorado. Of the total people living with HIV in Colorado, 87.2% were males, and 12.8% were females. 57% of the total HIV population were White males, 23.5% Hispanic, and 15% were Black American population.

Considering the age group that had the maximum number of people living with HIV, 39.7% were 55 years or above, 26.8% 45 to 54 years, 18.1% 35 to 44 years, while 15.4% of the total people living with HIV were from the age group 13 to 34 years.

AIDSvu HIV/AIDS report revealed that the total number of new diagnoses during 2018 was 339. Of the newly diagnosed cases, 90.2 % were male Colorado residents, and 9.8% were females. White Americans remained the ethnic group most affected by the virus. 44.6% of the newly diagnosed cases were White males, 36.8% belonged to Hispanic backgrounds, and 14.8% were Black Americans.

The rate of new diagnosis per 100,000 population by the end of 2018 was 8.

Considering the statistics from HIV/AIDS Report, 2018, the total number of HIV-related mortalities during the same year was 138. The rate of HIV-related death per 100,000 population was 3. 91.3% of the total HIV-related mortalities were males while 8.7% were females. Most of the mortalities were from the 55 years or above age group.

Most HIV cases in males were reported due to male or gay sexual contact (77.8%), heterosexual contact (4.1%), and 4.6% of the cases due to contaminated injection use. In females, most of the HIV cases reported were due to heterosexual contact (74.7%) and 23.1% due to contaminated syringes and injection use.

References

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Aug 12, 2021

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