Free HIV Testing in Washington

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Named after George Washington, Washington state is situated in the western United States. Washington State shares its border with the states Idaho to the east, Oregon to the south, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. The state also has a coastline with the Pacific Ocean to the west.

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The capital city of Washington is Olympia, while Seattle is the largest city both in the state and Pacific northwestern region of North America. With a total area of 71,362 square miles, Washington State is the 18th largest state in the Country. According to the state demographics, Washington has a total population of 7.29 million, making it the 13th most populous state in the Country.

As per the population demographics, most of the Washington state population is white Americans (69.3%). Out of the total population, 12.4% belong to Hispanic backgrounds, and 8.11 % are Asian Americans. African Americans or Black Americans are present in minorities and makeup only 3.7 % of the total population.

Considering the HIV statistics by the Center for Disease and Control, CDC, Washington State had been ranked at 24th out of the 50 states for having an active number of HIV patients. Despite state and federal initiatives for HIV control and prevention, the number of newly diagnosed cases has increased slowly during the last few years. The data shows that there were a total of 450 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in 2015, while in 2018, the number jumped to 504 newly diagnosed patients.

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Why Testing Matters?

Washington has been ranked 24th most populated state in terms of having HIV cases. The growing number of newly diagnosed cases in Washington is an area of concern for the State authorities and the federal government.

According to CDC, one of every seven people in the United States with HIV isn’t aware of their illness or isn’t diagnosed. As per a CDC report, during the year 2015, a total number of 39,393 people were diagnosed with HIV, of which 450 cases were reported from Washington State.

The HIV/AIDS Report, 2018 indicates that the state has 13,614 cases of people living with HIV. In 2018 alone, 504 individuals, both adults, and adolescents were newly diagnosed with the disease. According to the report, male residents of the state were affected more than their female counterparts. 84.4 % of males and 15.6% of females constituted the total number of people living with HIV in Washington.

While African Americans are present in minorities in Washington State, the rate of black African male's HIV diagnosis is 3.4 times higher than the white males. Similarly, the rate of African American females living with the disease is 22.6 times higher than that of their white counterparts.

HIV tested and diagnosed in time can be treated to avoid further complications. Late diagnosis of HIV/AIDS is a strong predictor of HIV-related deaths. According to various studies conducted, the late diagnosis of the disease shows three folds higher death rates than the early diagnosis. Late diagnosis of HIV is defined as having a diagnosis of AIDS within three months of the HIV diagnosis.

Out of the total cases diagnosed during the year 2018 in Washington, 110 were late diagnoses. CDC reports that one in every seven individuals living with HIV in the United States isn’t aware of the illness. It is recommended that adolescents and adults belonging to the age group 13 to 64 should be tested at least once in their lifetime to avoid the complications of late diagnosis. Testing for HIV should be made mandatory and a part of the annual checkup for those who live in the state's HIV-populated areas.

Initiatives to Prevent HIV in Washington

Washington State has been actively involved in building a solid foundation on public and private investments to prevent the spread of the virus and improve the living conditions of individuals who already contracted HIV.

The state of Washington has formulated a steering team that works towards reducing the adverse effects of HIV in the state. The goals of the steering team involve reducing the new diagnosis by at least 50%, age-adjusted mortalities for people living with HIV by 25%, and HIV-related health disparities. Improving the quality of life and providing treatment for people living with HIV is also one of its goals. The steering team also conducts educational sessions in various community areas to educate the general public about preventive measures.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has a specialized program called the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program. Ryan White HIV/AIDS program is a federal initiative that provides an elaborate system providing primary care and services to low-income people who have HIV. The program is functional in almost all states, and it's actively performing its operations in Washington State.

Department of Health, Washington has also taken a step towards making Washington State an HIV-free state by allocating funds for HIV and various STD screening to individuals who cannot afford these services. In the case of positive HIV individuals belonging to low-income groups, the requisite treatment is provided using the State funds.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) assistance program is specially designed for individuals belonging to communities or localities highly affected by the virus. Washington was one of the first states to provide the Drug Assistance program. If taken in the recommended dose, the drug is highly effective in the prevention of HIV.

HIV Stats and Rates in Washington

According to the US Census Bureau, Washington State has a total population of 7.29 million. The biggest ethnic groups in the state are American Whites that makeup 69.3 % of the total population. The second biggest ethnic groups belonging to Hispanic backgrounds make up 12.4 %, followed by 8.11% Asians. The smallest ethnic group remains Black Americans, that make up 3.7% of the entire population.

The Center for Disease Control has ranked Washington State at 24th most populated states in HIV prevalence. During 2015 a total of 450 adults and adolescents were diagnosed with HIV, while the numbers slowly rose to 504 in 2018. As per the HIV/AIDS report, there were a total number of 13,614 people living with HIV in Washington State in 2018, as per AIDsvu.

Age, Gender and Ethnic Disparities

As per the HIV/AIDS report from AIDSvu, the total number of HIV active cases recorded in the year 2018 was 13,614, out of which 504 were newly diagnosed during the same year.

According to statistics, HIV has affected 42.5 % white Americans, 28.8 African Americans, and 17.9 individuals belonging to Hispanic backgrounds. 32 % of the entire HIV-positive population belonged to 25 to 34 years, followed by 25 % of 35 to 44 years. Around 12% of the patients were young adults belonging to the age group 13 to 24. The Human immune deficiency virus affected males more than females. Of the total diagnosis, 73.4 % were males, while 26.6 % were females.

The report also shows that the spread of the virus was male to male sexual contact (77%), 11% due to injection or drug use, and around 5 % due to heterosexual contact. According to the same report, the total number of deaths of people with HIV during 2018 was 217. The death rate of people with HIV per 100,000 population during the same year was recorded at 3. Of the total number of mortalities, 84.8 % were males while 15.2 % were females.

Reviewed by Debby R, MD. Last updated on Jan 13, 2022