CDC continues work on promoting early diagnosis of HIV infection

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will continue its efforts to promote early diagnosis of acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection by expanding the availability of rapid HIV testing services, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo said Tuesday.Lo noted that to reduce the rate of late diagnosis of HIV infection, the measure launched last year to distribute rapid HIV self-testing kits through various channels, including vending machines and online order pickups from convenience stores, will continue this year.Meanwhile, the CDC will continue to increase the availability of anonymous testing for HIV infection, Lo said at a legislative session.Lo was responding to opposition Kuomintang legislator Chen Yi-ming, who said that most people infected with HIV do not develop symptoms until 8-10 years after infection.The annual number of new HIV-positive cases recorded in Taiwan between 2014 and 2017 was about 2,500, with 34 percent developing symptoms within a year of reporting their cases, which shows the situation of late HIV diagnosis and delayed HIV treatment in the country, according to Chen.Without treatment, HIV infection will usually result in acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).The CDC's work on combating HIV is focused on accelerating HIV prevention to reduce new infections, Lo said, adding that in combination with early detection through HIV testing, the CDC is working to help people with HIV get medical treatment as soon as possible.However, the rate of late diagnosis and delayed treatment of HIV has not declined over the past few years, with about 21 percent of people living with HIV remaining unaware of their infection, according to Lo.Therefore, the CDC will continue its efforts to make HIV testing services easy, private and convenient for users, particularly young people, Lo added.From January to April, the number of new HIV cases decreased 25 percent compared with the same period of last year, the first decline in more than 10 years, according to Lo.