Aug 4, 2008 | 1
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) missed more than 16,000 new HIV infections in its last tally of the disease, according to a new analysis.
The CDC reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association yesterday that its 2006 estimate of new HIV infections in the U.S. was 40 percent off: 56,000 contracted the human immunodeficiency virus—the virus that leads to full-blown AIDS—that year, not 40,000.
Here's why they got it wrong: First, previous estimates relied on extrapolating from limited data taken from small studies on HIV incidence in high-risk populations, like men who have sex with men. Also, the earlier estimates did not take advantage of a new HIV test (called STARHS or Serological Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion), which can tell whether a person has been infected within the last six months. Beforehand, researchers only knew that someone had been diagnosed with HIV, not when someone contracted the virus—and many people diagnosed with HIV contracted it several months or even years prior.
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