Free HIV Testing in Nebraska

Free and low-cost testing locations near you.

The American government is constantly making efforts to improve the quality of life for its citizens. One of the latest bold plans by the government is to completely put an end to the HIV epidemic in America and make the country HIV-free by 2030. This initiative would directly involve both state and federal bodies to reduce and ultimately end the newly diagnosed cases of HIV.

Considering private HIV testing? See how easy it is to get tested in Nebraska

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Why Testing Matters?

HIV is one of the deadliest viruses ever known; the reason it is so dangerous is that it directly attacks the human body's immune system and weakens it to a point where the body is left vulnerable to various diseases. The virus stays silent in the body during the initial stages with no apparent symptoms, and when the symptoms start showing, the disease would have already progressed to its final stage, AIDS. The virus spreads mainly through sexual contact with an infected person, the exchange of certain body fluids, and the use of contaminated syringes, needles, and sharing of drug equipment with an infected person.

According to the federal HIV data, currently, there are a total of 1.2 million adolescents and adults residing in the U.S who are living with HIV. 13% of the HIV-positive population does not know it and needs testing to start treatment.

CDC data indicates that one out of every seven HIV-positive individuals have never tested and are not aware of their HIV status. Therefore, it is recommended for all the residents of the U.S. to get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Chances of transmission of the virus are more significant for individuals who reside in HIV-populated areas. Hence annual testing is required. Early testing and diagnosis are essential as it saves from HIV related complications and even death.

Research data has shown that HIV-related mortality is three times higher in people who have been diagnosed late and started late treatment.

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HIV in Nebraska

The Centers for Disease Control, CDC has ranked Nebraska 39th among the 50 US states for having the largest numbers of HIV cases. In 2015 alone, 81 adults and adolescents were newly diagnosed with HIV in Nebraska. Nebraska is the only triply landlocked state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. United States Bureau of Census data, 2019 indicates that Nebraska has a total population of 1.9 million, making it the 37th most populated state of the country.

According to CDC, Nebraska is among the top U.S states with the largest numbers of people living with HIV. The total number of newly diagnosed adults and adolescents with HIV in 2015 was 81. AIDSVu report states that the total number of newly diagnosed cases in 2018 was slightly reduced to 79. The same report indicates that the rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 population was 137. By 2018 the total numbers of people living with HIV in Nebraska were 2174. Most of the infected individuals were White Americans. The prevalence of the virus was more in males as compared to females.

HIV Initiatives in Nebraska

As a part of the national goals to be HIV-free by 2030, the government of Nebraska has streamlined the policy and health care plans towards reducing the number of newly diagnosed cases in the state. Nebraska AIDS Project, NAP is one such initiative. The mission of this organization is to spread awareness regarding prevention strategies and reduce stigma through proper education and supportive services for HIV. The program provides STI and HIV testing services and also provides linkage services to the treatment providers. One program of the NAP is to provide free condoms in the mail or in-person, totally free of cost to prevent the transmission of the virus through sexual contact.

Nebraska AIDS Education and Training Center of the University of Nebraska Medical Center works to provide training and educational services to healthcare providers dealing with HIV patients. The center mainly deals with educating the health care providers about newer treatment methods. The center also provides clinical training opportunities at HIV care sites.

Nebraska Medicine has been actively providing HIV care services in the state for the last two decades. This HIV program caters to HIV patients by providing them comprehensive care at every stage of the disease.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

According to AIDSVu, 2018 the total number of HIV-positive individuals living in Nebraska was estimated to be 2174. Of the total numbers, 79 adults and adolescents were diagnosed with the virus during the same year. The rate of people living with HIV per 100,000 population was 137. The rate of new diagnosis per 100,000 population during 2018 was 5.

The data from AIDSVu indicates that of the total numbers of newly diagnosed cases, most of the cases were reported in males (77.8%). Of the total numbers, only 22.2% of the HIV-positive patients were females. The age group that was most affected by the virus was 45- 54 years (29.8%), followed by 55 years and above (29.1%).22.9% of the people living with HIV in Nebraska were between the age group 35 to 44 years and 14.9% belonged to the age group 25 to 34 years. 3.4% of the people diagnosed with HIV were adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 24 years.

White Americans were disproportionately affected by the virus. 49.8% of the people with HIV were White Americans, 27.8% were Black Americans, and 16.1% belonged to Hispanic backgrounds. The number of HIV-related mortalities in Nebraska during 2018 was 31. The rate of HIV-related mortalities per 100,000 population was 2. Following a similar pattern, HIV-related deaths were reported more in males than their female counterparts.

Considering the modes of transmission of the virus in males, the virus is mainly transmitted due to male or gay sexual contact (74.5%), 9.3% due to heterosexual contact, and 5.3% due to the use of contaminated needles or syringes. In females, the most common modes of transmission were heterosexual contact (83%) and injection or contaminated needle use (13%).

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

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