April 30, 2013
1 min read

USPSTF recommends population-wide HIV screening

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The US Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that all adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years be screened for HIV infection.

The new guidelines broaden the scope of the 2005 guidelines to include even those who are not at high risk. The USPSTF also recommends that younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk for HIV be screened, according to the report published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The recommendations are based partially on recent data that indicate early initiation of ART was associated with improved clinical outcomes and reduced AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. Other considerations were data that support the cost-effectiveness of HIV screening and the high sensitivity and specificity of standard and rapid HIV tests.

In 2006, the CDC recommended routine voluntary HIV screening in those aged 16 to 64 years, with an opt-out option, and several professional medical associations have made similar recommendations.

In an accompanying editorial, Paul A. Volberding, MD, Chief Medical Editor of Infectious Disease News, and Moupali Das, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, said diagnosis of HIV is critical to ending the AIDS epidemic, which is possible only if there is effective screening. They also said new research since the 2005 USPSTF guidelines have highlighted that approximately 20% of people with HIV in the United States are unaware of their infection, and “hesitation in screening diminishes with the acceptance of HIV infection as a chronic disease that can be controlled by increasingly potent, convenient and safe drugs.”

Paul A. Volberding, MD 

Paul Volberding

“With an increasing consensus on population-wide screening, a growing belief in universal treatment and the goal of near universal access to medical care under the Affordable Care Act, we may ultimately awaken from the nightmare of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” they wrote.

For more information:

Moyer V. Ann Intern Med. 2013;doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-1-201307020-00645.

Volberding P. Ann Intern Med. 2013;doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-1-201307020-00643.