Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Recommendations for HIV Testing

In the past HIV (human immunodefeciency virus) testing was recommended for patients who were considered to be at high risk or who lived in high HIV prevalence areas. Current recommendations as of 2005, however, are to do routine, voluntary testing -- which is not risk-based -- as part of general health maintenance.

Primary care doctors should consider HIV testing every 1-2 years for any sexually active patient even if they have had the same partner during that time. If someone has changed partners, then the screening should be done once a year.

Routine HIV screening is considered to be as cost effective as colonoscopies, smoking cessation programs, and Hepatitis B virus vaccination. In addition early diagnosis of HIV allows for a higher life-expectancy and possibly a lower transmission rate. An additional benefit: routine screening may reduce the stigma that is associated with HIV testing.

"Currently, an estimated one in four HIV-infected individuals do not know they are infected and, consequently, are not receiving the care, treatment, and prevention services they need to stay healthy and to protect their partners. "

See HIV Testing Resources to help find a testing center near you.

References:
Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 40 (2005), 1037-1040.
NEJM, Volume 352 (2005), 570-585.
MMWR June 27, 2003 / 52(25);581-586.


To read this in Farsi please click here.

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