New York residents may be interested to learn that, according to US Centers for Disease Control study, many Americans live with HIV for some time before getting diagnosed. What makes this study surprising is that this includes Americans who regularly visit their doctor.
In 2011, it took, on average, about three years and seven months to get an HIV diagnosis. In 2015, the average detection time was about three years. While this shows that detection rates are both improving and encouraging, there is still room for improvement. For example, of the 40,000 people who were diagnosed in 2015, at least half had lived with the disease for at least three years. About a quarter of the individuals lived with the disease for at least seven years before getting a diagnosis. About 20 percent of the individuals had the disease advance to AIDS before they received a diagnosis.
Getting an early diagnosis for HIV is crucial as patients have more options when it comes to prevention and treatment. Not only are there treatment options that allow individuals diagnosed with HIV to live long, healthy lives, but there are also prevention options for their partners. The CDC recommended that doctors tell their patients to get tested at least once in their lifetime. If a person has an increased risk for the disease, he or she should get tested at least once a year.
Doctors should be recommending that those who are at high risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases should be regularly tested for HIV. If a doctor misdiagnosis causes a delay in getting a correct diagnosis, a person could need additional treatments and may be at risk for spreading the disease. A medical malpractice attorney may assist with filing a lawsuit if the failure to diagnose HIV resulted in serious harm.