December 4th, 2008

More Support for HIV Screening

On Monday December 1 — World AIDS Day, if you’re keeping track — the American College of Physicians released a position paper supporting routine HIV screening for adolescents and adults in the United States. 

(If you don’t want to read the whole thing, we’ll have a perfectly-executed summary by the inimitable Abbie Zuger on our AIDS Clinical Care site any day now; it’s been written, but somehow getting material up there is harder than it is here.  Go figure.  UPDATE:  Now you can read it here.)

In essence, these ACP Guidelines are highly concordant with those issued in 2006 by the CDC:  One-time testing for adults in health-care settings.  Frequency of repeat testing to be determined by risk assessment.

This leaves the US Preventive Services Task Force as a mild voice of dissension about the issue of HIV screening, as it neither endorses nor discourages routine screening.  The USPSTF does recommend screening “at-risk” populations, a useful strategy but one that still leaves a substantial proportion of HIV diagnoses undetected.

Meanwhile, the number of states still requiring written informed consent for HIV testing continues to fall …

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HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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