Lifestyle & Belief

HIV testing in US may become routine practice


Luis Hough swabs his mouth with an HIV test while at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Washington, DC on July 12, 2012. The testing program started in Washington in October 2010, a first-of-its-kind attempt in the US to bring HIV testing directly to city residents. The test is quick, painless and yields results within 20 minutes.



Testing for HIV may become as routine in the United States as cholesterol screening and other preventive tests, Reuters reported.

The US Preventive Services Task Force, which describes itself as "an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine," is expected to make a new recommendation on HIV screening before the end of the year, according to Reuters, citing anonymous health officials close to the panel.

The panel's current position, which was issued in 2005, strongly recommened HIV screening for adults and adolescents determined to be at increased risk of infection. The following year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released revised guidelines that recommended all individuals between 13 and 64 years of age in health care settings be screened for HIV, regardless of recognized risk factors.

Reuters noted that "under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, passed in 2010, insurers are required to cover preventive services that are recommended by the task force."

New York is one example of a state that already integrates HIV testing as part of routine preventive care. The idea has been promoted previously by health experts, but has yet to be required practice at the national level.

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