Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health-Care Settings
The objectives of these recommendations are to increase HIV screening of patients, including pregnant women, in health-care settings; foster earlier detection of HIV infection; identify and counsel persons with unrecognized HIV infection and link them to clinical and prevention services; and further reduce perinatal transmission of HIV in the United States. Created: 9/22/2006 by MMWR.
Date Released: 9/28/2006. Series Name: A Cup of Health with CDC.
This podcast is presented by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC - Safer. Healthier. People.
REYNOLDS: Welcome to A Cup of Health with CDC, a weekly broadcast of the MMWR, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. I'm your host, Matthew Reynolds. CDC has released new recommendations that urge doctors to include HIV testing as part of their patients' regular health care.
Routine HIV testing will ensure that more people learn whether they are infected with HIV, allowing them to benefit from earlier access to treatment, and reduce the risk of infecting their partners.
Each year, an estimated 40,000 people in the United States become infected with HIV. Right now, approximately one million people in the U. S. are living with HIV. Of those, nearly a quarter - that's about 250,000 people - don't know they are infected. That means they are not getting treatment, and they may be spreading the virus to others without knowing it.
The aim of the CDC's new recommendations is to help increase early HIV diagnosis among people who are unaware they are infected, and make it easier to conduct HIV screening in health care settings, like doctor's offices and emergency rooms.
Here to discuss the new recommendations is Dr. Bernie Branson from CDC's HIV/AIDS Prevention Program. Dr. Branson, welcome.
BRANSON: Thanks Matthew.
REYNOLDS: Why should routine HIV testing begin now?
BRANSON: Well, early HIV diagnosis is critical, so people who are infected can fully benefit from available treatments. Currently, almost 40 percent of people with HIV are not diagnosed until they have already developed AIDS that can be up to 10 years after they first became infected with HIV.
We have also found that once they learn they are infected with HIV, most people take steps to protect their partners. The men and women who are unaware that they are infected are estimated to account for more than half of all new sexually transmitted HIV infections each year.
Besides, we already know that HIV screening works. Widespread routine screening of pregnant women, coupled with preventive treatment, has dramatically reduced HIV infection in newborns.
So, finding out whether you are infected with HIV is the first step to improving your health and the health of your partners and your family.
REYNOLDS: So, if a patient is in a doctor's office or in the emergency room, should they be tested for HIV?
BRANSON: Because anyone can get HIV, CDC recommends that all patients between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested. CDC also recommends that pregnant women be tested early during each pregnancy. This will help eliminate the spread of HIV to infants.
CDC advises doctors to tell their patients that they will be tested for HIV as a part of their regular care, and encourages them to give their patients an opportunity to ask questions.
REYNOLDS: Can patients say no to being tested for HIV in health care settings?
BRANSON: Of course. HIV testing is voluntary. CDC recommends that doctors make it clear that every patient has the option to turn down the HIV test.
To help patients make the decision whether to be tested for HIV, CDC advises doctors to provide basic information, verbally or in writing, about HIV and what it means to have a positive or negative test result, and to give their patients the opportunity to ask question
REYNOLDS: I understand there are different HIV tests. What kind of tests can be done in health care settings?
BRANSON: Well, there are a number of HIV tests available.
For example, some doctors might use a rapid test. Results from rapid tests are available in just 10 to 20 minutes. They can be done with a finger-stick blood sample or even an oral swab from inside the mouth.
Other doctors may choose to take a small amount of blood from your arm and send it to the lab with other blood work for a conventional HIV test.
REYNOLDS: So patients should expect their doctor to offer them an HIV test during their next visit?
BRANSON: That's right, Matthew.
REYNOLDS: Dr. Branson, thank you for talking with us here today on A Cup of Health with CDC.
BRANSON: Thanks, Matthew. I was glad to be here.
REYNOLDS: The recommendations by Dr. Branson and his colleagues from the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention are available online at www.cdc.gov/hiv
Don't forget to join us next week for A Cup of Health with CDC. Until then, be well. This is Matthew Reynolds.
To access the most accurate and relevant health information that affects you, your family and your community, please visit www.cdc.gov.