Epidemiological Profile of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota
Late Testers in Minnesota
A characteristic of the HIV epidemic that impacts both prevention and care services is the percentage of persons that are considered late testers. Late testers are defined as persons who had their first positive HIV test within one year of receiving an AIDS diagnosis (1) (CDC, 2003). An AIDS diagnosis so close to initial diagnosis with HIV infection represents missed opportunities for both prevention and medical care. The percentage of late testers in Minnesota is computed using data from the HIV/AIDS Surveillance System (eHARS) on date of initial diagnosis and date of AIDS diagnosis.
Since 2000, approximately one third of all new HIV infection cases diagnosed in Minnesota have either been AIDS at first diagnosis, or have progressed to an AIDS diagnosis within one year of initial diagnosis with HIV (non-AIDS) infection. However, this overall stability masks important differences by demographic characteristics.
The most significant differences occur by race/ethnicity, with the proportion of late testers in 2012 among African-born (39%) and African Americans (30%) being higher than that among Whites (27%) and Hispanics (26%). Similar data for American Indians and Asian/Pacific Islanders in a single year had fewer than 10 cases and are considered not stable.
The percentage of late testers is also higher among foreign-born cases compared to other cases. In 2012, 35% of foreign-born cases were late testers compared to 27% of US-born cases.
Differences by age are as expected with the percentage of late testers increasing with age at time of diagnosis. In 2012, 4% of those diagnosed between the ages of 13 and 24 were late testers compared to 44% of those 45 years and older.
Over the past ten years, the percentage of late testers by geography has varied greatly from 46 percent in greater Minnesota compared to 29 percent in the TGA in 2010 to 26 percent in greater Minnesota compared to 30 percent in the TGA in 2012. The combined percentage of late testers from 2003-2012 is 35 percent in Greater Minnesota compared to 32 percent in the TGA.