According to the US Centers for Disease Control, patients may live with HIV for an extended period of time without being diagnosed with the condition. This may be true even for New Jersey residents and others who see their doctor. As of 2015, it took an average of three years to get diagnosed, but that is better than the three years and seven months it took to diagnose the condition in 2011.
In 2015, there were 40,000 people who were diagnosed with the condition, and 20 percent had advanced from HIV to AIDS before receiving a diagnosis. Of those who were diagnosed that year, roughly one in four had been living with HIV for seven years without knowing it. A timely diagnosis may create favorable outcomes for patients and prevent others from getting the virus. Ideally, a person will be tested at least once during their life at some point after turning 13.
Homosexual and bisexual men who are sexually active may be among the groups at highest risk of getting HIV. However, anyone who is sexually active may contract the virus, and those who inject drugs may also be at risk for contracting HIV. Doctors are encouraged to talk to their patients about the benefits of HIV testing as a means of potentially reducing its spread.
If a failure to diagnose causes a person to experience a worsened medical condition, that person may have grounds for legal action against a medical professional. If successful, an individual may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and lost wages. Lost future earnings and other punitive damages may also be available. An attorney may be able to work with an injured patient to either settle a case out of court or resolve it through a formal trial.