Free HIV Testing in Hawaii

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Once an independent nation but now a U.S. State, Hawaii is the only state entirely comprised of islands in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the main lands of the United States.

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Considering the area, Hawaii is ranked as the eighth smallest state in the entire country. Population wise the state's ranking is at 11th in the least populous states. Hawaii is among the most ethnically diverse states of the country. The state has a population of 1.4 million as per the United States Bureau of Census data.

The state is home to the biggest Buddhist communities Of the 50 U.S. states. Ethnic groups living in the state are Asian Americans, White Americans, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and Black Americans. Due to the diverse ethnicities present in the state, Hawaii is a melting pot for different cultures. Hawaii has consistently ranked as the happiest state in the country.

HIV/AIDS has been a fast-spreading epidemic in the U.S. for quite some time now. Federal and state governments have taken various initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV and provide necessary care for HIV patients. Center for Disease and Control, CDC has ranked Hawaii to be 37th among the 50 U.S. states in terms of newly diagnosed HIV cases. In 2015, an estimated number of 115 adolescents and adults were newly diagnosed with HIV. However, the numbers of newly diagnosed cases are on a steady decline. As per the HIV/AIDS Report, 2018, the number of newly diagnosed cases in Hawaii were 70. The total estimated number of people living with HIV in Hawaii was 2,436.

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Why Testing Matters?

In 2015, according to CDC, the total number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV in the United States was 39,393. About 1 in every seven individuals with HIV in the United States are not aware of the infection. Therefore, CDC recommends that people of the age group 13 to 64 get tested at least once in their lifetime. For people living in HIV-populated areas, gay or bisexual males and people who use injected drugs often get tested once every year as a part of their routine checkup.

Testing is the only way to know about HIV status. An early diagnosis enables HIV-positive individuals to live a longer and healthier life. HIV treatment that is most commonly antiretroviral drugs taken early reduces the amount of virus in the body and protects the immune system from damage and progressing to AIDS.

Human Immuno Deficiency Virus is one the most lethal viruses. If contracted, it is possible for the virus to remain silent and show no symptoms while weakening the immune system. If the virus remains untreated, it can potentially weaken the immune system, leaving it vulnerable to various infections that a healthy individual wouldn't normally develop. The virus is spread through unprotected sexual contact, contaminated injection use, and the exchange of bodily fluids. HIV early testing and diagnosis can also help the spread of the virus.

Initiatives to Prevent HIV in Hawaii

The University of Hawaii, John A Burns School of medicine, in 2015, has taken the initiative to launch the Hawaii 2 Zero program. The primary focus of this initiative is to transform Hawaii into an HIV-free state. The program provides awareness sessions for the prevention of the virus. Continuous research in the school of medicine to cure the infection is also being carried out.

Hawaii, AIDS Drug Assistance Programs, ADAP is one of the federal government initiatives that ensure medication availability for low-income groups. ADAP also provides financial assistance and accessible treatment options to the residents of Hawaii.

Ryan White HIV/AIDS program by Health Resources and Service Administration, HRSA is a federal initiative operational for the last 30 years for HIV-related funding. The program provides funding to the state organizations to provide medication, HIV treatments, and other critical services such as ambulatory services, food banks, and mental health services.

HIV Statistics and Trends in Hawaii

As per the U.S. census data, 2018, the total estimated population of Hawaii is 1.4 million. The biggest ethnic groups of Hawaii are Asians (37.6%), followed by White Americans (25%). Hispanic or Latinos are makeup 10.7% of the population, and Black Americans are present in minorities (2.2%)

According to CDC’s HIV/AIDS Surveillance report, the total number of people living with HIV in Hawaii in the year 2018 was 2,436. The newly diagnosed cases in Hawaii are steadily declining as the cases declined from 115 in 2015 to 70 adults and adolescents in 2018. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 in Hawaii was 204. The rate of HIV new diagnosis per population of 100,000 individuals in 2018 was 6.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

Considering the data from HIV/AIDS Report, 2,436 people were living with HIV in 2018. The total number of diagnoses during the same year was 70. 88.4 % of the males and 11.6 % females made up the total HIV-positive population. White Americans were affected mainly by the virus. 46.2% of the people living with HIV were white Americans, followed by 12.3 % Hispanic and 5.3% Black Americans.

The same report indicates that 47.9 % of the HIV-positive population belonged to 55 and above. 25.2 % of the population of 45 to 54 years was living with the virus. 25.2% of people were aged 33 to 44 years, while 26% of the HIV positive individuals were between 13 to 34 years.

86.1 percent of the HIV-related deaths were male patients, while 13.9% of the HIV-related mortalities were females. 44.4 % of the HIV-related deaths were reported in the White population, 13.9% in individuals from Hispanic backgrounds, and 5.6 % deaths reported in the Black American Population.

The most popular transmission mode of HIV in males was gay or male-to-male sexual contact (83.4%). 4.2 % spread was due to the use of contaminated injections or drugs while heterosexual contact in makes accounted for 4.3% of the transmission. In females, most cases were reported due to heterosexual contact (69.9%), while 25.5% of the cases were reported due to injection or drug use.

References

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Aug 14, 2021

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