The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced it has launched a new initiative, “HIV Screening. Standard Care,” to help physicians make HIV testing a standard part of the medical care they provide to their patients. The effort is designed to increase implementation of CDC’s 2006 HIV screening recommendations, which advise that all patients between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV as a routine part of medical care at least once in their lives—regardless of perceived risk for the disease—and that individuals at high risk (e.g., those with multiple or HIV-infected partners) be tested at least annually.
“Many HIV-positive individuals walk out of their doctors’ offices every day without knowing they have HIV,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “We know that physicians must provide an enormous amount of care during brief patient visits, so we developed ‘HIV Screening. Standard Care.’ to make it as easy as possible for doctors to routinely provide HIV testing to patients.”
The initiative provides educational tools about HIV and the importance of getting tested, to be used by physicians in primary care settings. The materials include an annotated physician’s guide to CDC’s HIV screening recommendations, and patient materials and posters for waiting rooms.
CDC estimates that more than 200,000 (one in five) Americans living with HIV are unaware of their infection, and these individuals account for more than half of all new sexually transmitted HIV infections. Numerous studies show that once individuals learn that they are HIV positive, they take steps to prevent HIV transmission to their partners.
— Nancy Ford