I’ve been tested, have you?
In a new report, a U.S. panel is advising that HIV tests for all people ages 15-64 become part of routine medical care. If the recommendations are adopted, more people will have their HIV tests covered by Medicare and private insurance, as it will be required coverage.
The LA Times explains:
The recommendations, which would apply to all but very-low-risk populations, are a clear shift toward broader testing for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The task force’s 2005 guidelines suggested routine HIV screening only for adolescents and adults at increased risk, including men who have sex with men, injection drug users, people who trade sex for drugs and those who have multiple sexual partners.
A landmark clinical trial last year involving 1,763 couples, most of them heterosexual, showed that when HIV-positive partners were treated early with antiretroviral medications, transmission of the virus to uninfected partners was reduced by 96%.
The 15-to-64 age range was suggested for such tests — which could be offered to patients visiting their doctors or hospitals for any reason — because government health statistics show this would capture the majority of Americans who contract the virus every year, Owens said.
Still, he added, ‘We want to emphasize that the best way to reduce HIV-related disease and death is to avoid getting infected in the first place.’”
What do you think? Should HIV testing become routine? How about mandatory coverage by most (if not all) health insurance plans?
For now, free HIV testing is available, should you need it. Testing is easy, safe and confidential—and isn’t it better to know?
Find FREE HIV TESTING sites here, via the CDC.
Image courtesy of Flickr/Neeta Lind