People in Iowa and across the United States are still waiting for HIV diagnoses that are often delayed, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Studies show that HIV detection rates are improving, but many people live with HIV for some time before receiving a diagnosis. This is often true even for people who have seen a doctor.
In 2015, it took people in the United States three years on average to get an HIV diagnosis after contracting an infection. In 2011, that time was about three years and seven months. Furthermore, the number of people with HIV that is well-controlled by medication is also up, and annual new cases are down, according to the Centers for Disease Control. In 2015, approximately 40,000 people were diagnosed with HIV, and half of them had the disease for three years before they were aware of their diagnosis. Even more, one-fourth of this group of people had HIV for seven years before being diagnosed. For 20 percent of the people studied, their HIV had already advanced to AIDS before a diagnosis was made.
Avoiding delayed diagnosis of HIV can be particularly important for treatment and prevention because medicines can suppress the virus in the body. Precautions and medication can also prevent people with HIV from transmitting the disease to their partners. This means that a lack of diagnosis can pose a danger to others as well. About 40 percent of new HIV infections are transmitted from a person who did not know they have HIV.
Inaccurate diagnoses or other forms of doctor error can have lasting impacts on health. People who have been diagnosed with HIV or another disease after a long delay and have suffered a worsened medical condition as a result can speak with a medical malpractice attorney to receive advice and information about the potential of pursuing compensation.