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Models to Diagnose HIV/AIDS Cases

It is estimated that approximately 15% of people living in the United States are unaware of their HIV-positive status and that only 50% of people who know their status are engaged in regular HIV care. Studies have shown an advantage to being diagnosed with HIV early and starting treatment right away. That is why HIV testing is a key strategy in the Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America (EHE) initiative. The first of the EHE's four strategies calls for diagnosing all new cases of HIV as soon as possible to ensure people are quickly connected to care and treatment to prevent further transmission of the virus.

Guidelines for HIV testing continue to progress with changes in testing technology and approaches to reach persons who can benefit from these services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once. However, those at increased risk for HIV should test more frequently (for example once every 3 or 6 months). HIV testing can detect HIV infection, but does not indicate how long a person has had HIV or if the person has AIDS.

The HIV National Strategic Plan for the United States highlights evidence that suggests when people test positive for HIV they are more likely to take precautions to prevent others from acquiring the virus. People who test positive during screening can be linked to treatment and counseling services, and knowledge of HIV status may lead to decreased risk-taking behavior.

Several U.S. agencies are collaborating to make HIV testing more available in both traditional and non-traditional settings. Models to identify HIV/AIDS cases can be implemented in clinical, community, and home settings.

Models in this section: