HealthDay News — There was a decrease in HIV testing and diagnoses during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to research published in the June 24 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted health care delivery, including HIV testing, during 2020 to 2021, Elizabeth A. DiNenno, Ph.D., from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues examined the numbers of HIV tests performed in the United States in the years before (2019) and during (2020) the pandemic.
The researchers found that compared with those reported in 2019, there was a 17 percent decrease in HIV diagnoses reported to the CDC in 2020. This decrease was preceded by reductions in HIV testing during the same period, which were seen in populations with elevated potential for HIV acquisition, including Black gay men, Hispanic gay men, bisexual men, other men who have sex with men, and transgender persons.
“To compensate for testing and diagnoses missed during the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the US initiative, partnerships among federal organizations, state and local health departments, community-based organizations, and health care systems could increase access to HIV testing services, including self-testing,” the authors write.