Free HIV Testing in Michigan

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The first cases of HIV were reported in 1981 in the U.S. According to data released by health officials, more than 70,000 people have died in the United States since the beginning of the epidemic. Today more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the country. Every year around 35,000 people are newly diagnosed with HIV in the United States. The disease continues to disproportionately affect specific populations like gay and bisexual men or those who have sexual relations with transgender women. Black or African Americans are also disproportionately affected by HIV.

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Why Testing Matters?

HIV, when left untreated, progresses to a life-threatening state called AIDS. The HIV virus directly attacks the body's natural immune system and weakens it to a level where it can no longer fight against any germs. According to CDC, one out of every seven HIV-positive individuals is not aware of their HIV status. Due to these individuals that 40 percent of the transmission in the newly diagnosed cases is reported. Therefore, everyone needs to get tested to rule out any chances of being HIV positive.

CDC recommends that every individual residing in the United States be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. In the case of individuals belonging to the risk groups such as gay, bisexual men, and those who are multiple sexual partners must include HIV testing as part of their annual medical routine. Patients diagnosed early are given an antiretroviral drug that suppresses the virus and prevents it from causing further damage. Timely treatment of the virus helps HIV-positive individuals lead an everyday life without health complications.

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HIV Statistics in Michigan

Michigan lies in the upper Midwestern region of the United States. The state is the 11th largest state in terms of area, and according to the data from census records, the state is the 10th most populated state with a population of nearly 10.1 million.

Like the rest of the states in the country, several HIV-positive cases have been reported over the past few decades. According to the Centers for Diseases Control, CDC, in 2015, approximately 725 adults and adolescents were newly diagnosed with HIV in Michigan. Based on the number of newly reported cases, Michigan has been ranked 14th of the 50th U.S states for having the highest HIV cases. The state of Michigan has one of the highest rates of the new diagnosis of HIV. According to data from CDC, the annual HIV incidence in Michigan is approximately 700.

Michigan health authorities revealed that the number of new HIV diagnoses was the highest in 1992 but dropped considerably throughout the last decade. But during the last few years, the numbers of HIV diagnoses have started drastically increasing, especially among the black populations and individuals belonging to the age group 15 to 29 years.

According to data from 2017 by CDC, 18,900 individuals were living with HIV in the state. The same report indicated that there were 700 newly reported cases in the state in the last few years. CDC indicated that around 84% of residents of Michigan were aware of their HIV status, which indirectly means that there is a good number of HIV-positive individuals who were unaware of them being positive. On the other hand, AIDSVu reported that in 2018, 15,983 adults and adolescents were living with HIV in the state. 716 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in Michigan during the same year.

HIV initiatives in Michigan

Data from CDC reveals that the organization has awarded $8.7 million to various health departments and community-based organizations for HIV prevention activities, including HIV testing, HIV diagnosis, and linkage of the HIV patients to the medical care providers.

Chag Detroit is a Michigan-based organization that reduces health disparities, especially those regarding HIV in the state. The organization aims to reduce the number of HIV-positive cases by educating the general public regarding preventive measures, rapid testing, and free condoms and needles. Chag also provides access to medical adherence through a various integrated prevention and care services. The organization is actively participating in reducing the stigma related to HIV.

Unified, Michigan is yet another organization dedicated to providing HIV-related care and essential services. Unified provides direct medical care, support services, and prevention in terms of providing education to the masses. Unified also takes care of case management services, housing to the HIV-positive individuals and their families, and the provision of necessary linkage.

Damien Center also works actively in Michigan to facilitate the HIV-positive individuals in Michigan. The center provides case management services, housing assistance, primary medical care, and linkages to specialized medical care providers. Provision of free meals, support groups, and arranging employment for the unemployed HIV patients are also some additional services the center provides.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

In 2015, CDC ranked Michigan 14th for having the highest numbers of HIV diagnoses in the country. According to the data from AIDSVu, there were 716 people newly diagnosed with HIV in the state. The same report indicated that 15 983 people lived with HIV in the state. Of the total people living with HIV, 79.1 percent were the state's male residents, while 20.9 percent were females. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 populations was 189.

The same report indicates that 55 percent of the people living with HIV in Michigan were black or African Americans while 33.9 % were white and 6.4% belonged to Latin or Hispanic backgrounds. The highest number of cases were reported from the age group 5 years and above (31.0%), followed by 26.4% from people belonging to ages 45 to 54 years, 18.4% from age group 35 to 44 years and 19.8% and 4.4% from the age groups 25 to 34 and 13 to 24 years respectively.

In 2018, the total number of HIV-related mortalities was 304, and the rate of HIV-related deaths per 100,000 population was 4. Most of the cases reported in the males were due to male-to-male sexual contact (80.2%), 6.9% due to heterosexual contact, and 5.6% due to the use of contaminated syringes. In females, the most popular transmission mode of HIV was heterosexual contact, 76.5%, and only 20.6% of the cases were reported due to the use of contaminated syringes.

References

  • AIDSVu, 2021. View local HIV data for the State of Michigan on AIDSVu. aidsvu.org. Available at: https://aidsvu.org/local-data/united-states/midwest/michigan/
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020. CDC HIV Michigan SSP . cdc.gov. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/policies/profiles/cdc-hiv-michigan-SSP.pdf
  • Chag Detroit, 2021. About Community Health Awareness Group. chagdetroit.org. Available at: https://www.chagdetroit.org/about-us
  • Damien Center, 2021. Indiana's largest and oldest AIDS service organization. damien.org. Available at: https://damien.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAqbyNBhC2ARIsALDwAsBNCEL7JZnTTzvGLK1BEazuDn5QyxlS45UhNIp-jG7UtJIqQ7Rv9LQaAvLaEALw_wcB
  • KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION, 2021. The HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States: The basics. kff.org. Available at: https://www.kff.org/hivaids/fact-sheet/the-hivaids-epidemic-in-the-united-states-the-basics/
  • Tanner, K. & Stafford, K., 2018. Detroit's HIV rate is more than 4 times the state average. here's why. Detroit Free Press. Available at: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2018/10/07/detroit-michigan-hiv-rate/1345370002/
  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2021, 2021. U.S. statistics. HIV.gov. Available at: https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics
  • UNIFIED, 2021. Home. miunified.org. Available at: https://miunified.org/Home
Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Jan 12, 2022

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