Officials: 18% Of HIV Positive Arizonans Don't Know They Have It

June 27, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the National Institutes of Health)
Electron micrograph of HIV-1 (green) budding from an immune cell.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, HIV testing rates have increased in recent years. But that rate still has not broken the 50 percent level.

Public Health officials estimate about 18 percent of people with HIV in Arizona don’t know they’re infected. That’s about two to four thousand people, a rate that falls slightly below the national average.

Kit Kloeckl is the executive director of the Aunt Rita’s Foundation, a local HIV treatment and prevention fundraising organization. He said an increase in the testing rate could make a big difference in how quickly the disease can spread to others.

"If we could get every Arizonan tested, if we could get every Arizonan in care and keep them in care, the chances they can transfer the disease to someone else drop by 96 percent," Kloeckl said.

Kloeckl added that about 50 percent of Arizonans with the infection are not receiving regular care.  

Friday is National HIV Testing awareness day. In honor of the event, organizations around Arizona will be offering free HIV tests through Saturday.