Free HIV Testing in Delaware

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ranked Delaware state 38th among the top fifty US states having the largest numbers of HIV in Delaware's state health profile. In 2015 the total number of new diagnoses in the state was 109. However, according to the statistics from the AIDSVu report, the number of new diagnoses reduced to 92 in 2018. In 2018 there were a total of 3316 people living with HIV in Delaware.

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Why Testing Matters?

HIV is a fast-spreading virus, and most of the U.S states have been struggling to fight the HIV epidemic for the last few decades. CDC data indicates that there are currently 1.2 million adults and adolescents living with HIV in the U.S. 13& of the total figures haven't ever been tested for HIV and are not aware of their HIV status.

Health authorities globally could not emphasize the importance of regular testing and the benefits of early diagnosis considering HIV. HIV, upon entering the human body, directly targets and damages the body's natural immune system. If the virus is undiagnosed and remains untreated, the results can be devastating. Studies have shown that the HIV-related mortalities in late diagnosis are three folds higher than early diagnosis. On the other hand, suppose an HIV-positive person is diagnosed in time, and the early treatment is started. In that case, many health complications can be avoided, and the risk of HIV-related deaths can be reduced considerably.

The most common modes of transmission of the virus include unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person, using contaminated syringes or needles. In addition, groups like gay or bisexual men, transgender who have sex with other men, or have more than one sexual partner are at risk of contracting the virus. CDC recommends that everyone should be tested at least once in their lifetime. For groups at risk and those who live in HIV populated communities should include HIV testing in their annual medical checkup.

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HIV in Delaware

Delaware is a small U.S state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country, the second smallest and the 6th least populated state among all the 50 states in terms of area. The state is also named 'the diamond state, considering its strategic location and scenic locations. This state has been ranked 38th in terms of having the largest number of cases in the U.S.

In 2018 the total number of people living with HIV in Delaware was 3,316. Of the total numbers, 92 were newly diagnosed during the same year. According to the AIDSVu, the rate of people living with HIV in Delaware per 100,000 population was 404, while the rate of new diagnosis during 2018 per 100,000 population was 11. According to 2018 statistics, the virus affected the Black American population more as compared to the whites. In addition, the prevalence of the virus was more in males in comparison to females.

HIV Initiatives in Delaware

The government of Delaware has a specialized program called the HIV prevention program with a mission to provide treatment, essential care, support, and educational services to the people living with HIV and the general public. In addition, the program provides testing services as well as treatment options.

Delaware HIV Consortium is yet another initiative to cater to the needs of HIV patients in Delaware. The Delaware HIV Consortium also provides health care professionals with the requisite resources needed to implement HIV testing efficiently. This organization works together with the primary and secondary healthcare providers to break the barriers, reduce stigma and raise awareness regarding HIV prevention and treatment.

It also acts as a bridge between the patients and the primary health care providers to ensure the treatment of patients and counseling is carried out. The primary goals of the Delaware HIV Consortium are to reduce the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases, reduce the HIV-related health disparities, and ensure the provision of proper care and treatment to all the individuals living with HIV in Delaware.

Christiana Care in Delaware has been providing its HIV-related services for the last three decades, and it is one of the major HIV-care providers in the state. The program claims to care for 65% of the total people living with HIV in Delaware. Christiana Care's services include primary medical care, access to Delaware AIDS Drug assistance programs, health maintenance, and counseling services.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

By 2018 there were a total of 3,316 people living with HIV in Delaware. The new diagnosis during the same year was 92, which is less than 2015 (109 newly diagnosed cases). According to the data from AIDSVu, the rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 population was 404, while the rate of new diagnosis per 100,000 population was 11.

Considering the data from AIDSVu, it is evident that the males from Delaware were mainly affected. The report indicates that 69.7% of the males and 30.3% of females living with HIV in 2018. Black Americans were disproportionately affected by the virus. Black Americans made up 23.2% of the total population of Delaware, but 57.7% of the total number of HIV-positive patients were Black Americans. 29.0% of the total numbers were White Americans, while 9.1 % were of Hispanic or Latin origin.

HIV rates are the largest in individuals belonging to the age group 55 and above (41.7%), followed by 45 to 54 years (27.8%) and 35 to 44 years (15.5%). Young adults and adolescents aged 13 to 34 years made up 15% of the total population of people living with HIV in Delaware. Reportedly, there were 58 HIV-related deaths in Delaware. The rate of deaths of people with HIV per 100,000 population was 7. Of the total HIV- related mortalities, 72.4% were males, while 27.6% were females. 62.1% of the total mortalities were reported in individuals of age 55 and above.

The prevalence of the virus was more in gay males. According to data from AIDSVu, the most common mode of transmission of HIV in males was male-to-male sexual contact (58.6%). Heterosexual contact in males accounted for 18.7% of the total cases, and 14.6% of the cases were reported due to injection drug use. In females, heterosexual contact accounted for 73.6% of the total cases, while 23.4 % reported due to injection drug use.

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Aug 13, 2021

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