Fewer than four in 10 U.S. women had ever been tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as of 2004.
That's despite a steep rise in AIDS cases among U.S. women over the last 20 years.
In 2004, women accounted for more than a quarter of U.S. AIDS cases, compared to less than 10 percent in the late 1980s, CDC records show.
That information — comes from a report by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
The report says that, as of 2004, 37 percent of U.S. women age 18 and older had at some point gotten an HIV test.
Men were even less likely to have ever been tested for HIV; less than a third said they'd been tested.
Among women, blacks and those aged 25-34 were most likely to have been tested. Asian women and women 65 and older were least likely to be tested.
Data came from a national health interview survey conducted by Health and Human Services in 2004.
"Far too many Americans with HIV are not diagnosed until years after they were infected, when it may be too late to fully benefit from available treatments," CDC director Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., says in a CDC news release.
Her comments come as people around the world are marking the annual World AIDS Day.
Gerberding notes that "about one quarter of people with HIV — at least 250,000 Americans — still do not realize they are infected."
Earlier this year, the CDC recommended HIV screening become a routine part of medical care for all patients age 13-64.
Today, the government is also launching a new AIDS web site, www.AIDS.gov.
SOURCES: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Women's Health USA 2006. News release, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC: "Number and Proportion of AIDS Cases Among Female Adults and Adolescents 1985-2004 -- United States." Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., director, CDC.
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang, M.D