US Survey Says 90%
Change Behavior After
HIV Infection
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A survey of young people in the United States infected with the AIDS virus found that 90 percent of them took steps to change their sexual behaviour after being diagnosed, federal health experts said on Thursday.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the study is the latest to show the value of diagnosis and counselling after someone is found to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
"Get tested. It may save your life and help others," said epidemiologist Patricia Sweeney of the CDC's National Centre for prevention of HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.
Of 180 people aged 13 to 24 who were diagnosed with HIV infection in Alabama, New Jersey and Tennessee in 1997 and 1998, 90 percent said they had changed their sexual behaviour after learning of their infection, the CDC said.
Sixty percent said they used condoms more often, 49 percent said they had sex less often and 36 percent said they stopped having sex after being diagnosed.
"Before knowing they were infected, fewer than 10 percent reported always using condoms. After learning they were infected, nearly half said they always used condoms," Sweeney said.
Sixteen percent said they had obtained no medical care after being diagnosed with HIV. Of those, some said they felt well and did not believe that they needed treatment while others said they did not want to think about being HIV-positive.
The CDC estimates that 800,000 to 900,000 people in the United States are infected with the AIDS virus, but one-third of them have not yet been diagnosed. The agency said 17,047 people died of AIDS in 1998.

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