A new survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that more than two-thirds of HIV testing facilities in the U., including those in states with the highest rate of testing, are either located in rural areas or in high-cost areas.
The survey, which was released Tuesday, found that the most common reasons given for not using a rural HIV testing facility was cost (74 percent), poor accessibility (70 percent) or poor quality (67 percent).
These reasons accounted for 85 percent of the non-metro locations, which represent nearly two-fifths of the U, according to the CDC.
These facilities typically test for HIV in-person and in a location that costs at least $500,000 to test.
The results of the survey were released in partnership with the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, TB and Tuberculosis Prevention (NCHS-VHPTP), which released the results last month in an effort to get more states to increase testing for their populations.
The findings are in line with what some have said for years about the need to get better at tracking how many HIV infections occur in rural locations, according, who added that the lack of access to testing facilities is hurting communities where HIV testing is needed.
“These facilities are the lifeline for those people who are already living in poverty, often without access to health care,” he said.
“It’s a great example of the importance of access, because when you have that many people who live in poverty who don’t have access to HIV testing, the virus spreads more quickly.”
He said that it’s not just the cost of HIV tests that’s hurting communities in rural communities, but also the high costs of HIV medications.
He said a large portion of these HIV medications are used for non-infectious purposes, which can lead to people taking them without the proper understanding of the medication and the risk associated with taking them.
“It’s an easy problem to solve with the right policies, but when you start to take away access to those medications, the cost for that medication is going to be higher,” he added.
“In states that have access, we are seeing a much higher proportion of people in rural populations taking medications for HIV.
It’s really an expensive problem.”
The CDC also found that nearly a quarter of the HIV testing clinics surveyed were in rural counties, which are in the southeastern part of the country.
A large majority of those surveyed were located in areas where HIV is prevalent, which is why it’s important to know the geographic locations of the most prevalent HIV testing labs, as well as which states have the highest rates of testing.
The data also shows that the vast majority of the testing facilities surveyed were not accessible to low-income people.
The CDC reported that more people living in low-cost or rural areas have a Medicaid card, which allows them to pay for a test.
For those living in areas with high poverty rates, this can make it difficult for people living below the poverty line to access a free test.
“The cost to treat low-level HIV is not insignificant,” said Dr. David Fauci, director of the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness at the University of Maryland.
“A state that has a low HIV prevalence rate will likely have a high HIV prevalence in the general population.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently added new requirements for states to set up testing facilities that meet the needs of low- and moderate-income communities.
The new rules include requirements that these facilities must have a minimum of four employees, have a primary or secondary location, have at least 20 HIV tests per day, and have a designated HIV prevention nurse in each room.
The new rules also will require the CDC to create a national plan to better serve people who lack access to affordable, HIV testing services, including expanding testing for low-resource populations.
States that have set up more HIV testing programs have had better results in terms of reducing HIV infections, according Fau, but the results still aren’t good.
“What we need is more of these programs,” he told the Washington Post.
“The numbers are not as good as they need to be.”
Fauci said he hopes that the new requirements will encourage more states and the federal government to set these programs up.