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Research on Expanded HIV Testing and Linkage to Care

National HIV Testing Day on June 27 marks a fitting time to look at the research NIAID supports to expand HIV testing and linkage to care in the United States.

Evidence suggests that most people who learn they have HIV take steps to prevent transmitting the virus to others. But an estimated 20 percent of the 1.1 million HIV-infected people in the United States do not know they are infected, and these people inadvertently play the greatest role in spreading the virus.

The “Test, Link-to-Care plus Treat” Study

NIAID is conducting a study to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of a four-step approach beginning with expanded HIV testing to curb the spread of the virus in the United States. These steps are:

  1. Promote frequent HIV testing in men who have sex with men and others who are at increased risk of acquiring HIV infection, and offer HIV tests in hospital emergency rooms and inpatient admissions
  2. Use financial incentives to influence HIV-diagnosed individuals to obtain medical care
  3. Use financial incentives to influence those who begin treatment to maintain low blood levels of HIV by sticking to their drug regimens
  4. Provide ongoing, interactive computer-based counseling to HIV-infected individuals to help them reduce their risk of transmitting the virus

Called HPTN 065 or TLC-Plus (for test, link-to-care plus treat), the study is taking place in Washington, D.C., and the Bronx, N.Y., at 77 sites that conduct HIV testing or provide medical care to people with HIV and at 16 hospitals. The results of the study, expected in early 2014, may inform the design of a future clinical trial of the “test, link-to-care plus treat” approach to HIV prevention.

Learn more about the TLC-Plus study.

Last Updated June 19, 2012

Last Reviewed June 19, 2012