Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Decline in HIV Testing and Diagnoses: From 2019 to 2020, there was a 17% decrease in new HIV diagnoses reported to the CDC, accompanying a significant decline in HIV testing, particularly among priority populations.
  2. Impact of COVID-19 on Health Services: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted health care delivery, affecting access to HIV testing services as many avoided services due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts and public health departments redirected some services to COVID-19-related activities.
  3. Testing Recommendations: The CDC recommends HIV testing for all adolescents and adults aged 13–64 years at least once, with annual re-screening for those with behaviors increasing HIV transmission risk, highlighting testing as critical for HIV prevention and care.
  4. Reductions Across Populations: All examined racial and ethnic groups and population groups experienced substantial decreases in HIV testing availability in CDC-funded jurisdictions, with significant declines among Black and Hispanic persons, MSM (men who have sex with men), and transgender persons.
  5. Efforts to Increase Testing: To counteract the declines in testing and diagnoses, there’s a push for increased access to HIV testing services, including self-testing and routine opt-out screening in health care settings, alongside partnerships among federal, state, and local health departments and community-based organizations.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Elizabeth A. DiNenno,

Suggested Citation

DiNenno EA, Delaney KP, Pitasi MA, et al. HIV Testing Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, 2019–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:820–824. DOI:


This report outlines the significant decrease in HIV testing and diagnoses from 2019 to 2020, highlighting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care delivery and HIV testing services. It emphasizes the critical nature of HIV testing in the fight against the HIV epidemic, especially within priority populations.


The study utilized data from four national data collection systems to assess the numbers of HIV tests performed and infections diagnosed in the U.S. in the years before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. It calculated differences in the absolute number and corresponding percentages of HIV tests conducted and examined reductions in HIV testing by race and ethnicity and population group.


The findings reveal a substantial decline in HIV testing and new diagnoses, underscoring the need for targeted efforts to increase testing rates among all persons, particularly those most affected by HIV. It discusses the potential of self-testing as a way to increase awareness and diagnosis of HIV infection.


The report concludes that concerted efforts are needed at all levels to increase HIV testing rates, particularly in light of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It calls for the expansion of access to testing services, including self-testing and routine opt-out screening, to accelerate the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative.

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