Talking to Patients About Testing
Before administering an HIV test during a patient visit, providers and staff can explain that:
- HIV screening is part of routine care for all patients ages 13–64, similar to other screening tests such as cholesterol and blood glucose.
- Informed consent for HIV testing is covered by general consent for medical care.
- Anyone can be infected and not know it.
- Early detection allows patients to stay healthy by starting effective HIV treatment.
It is important to listen and respond to a patient’s questions or concerns, understanding that confidentiality may be an issue for patients in consenting to HIV tests. Providers and staff must assure patients that their health information is confidential and that it will not be disclosed without informing them or gaining their approval. Providers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with State laws or regulations about HIV testing. For more information, go to Testing Policies and Laws.
"HIV tests, along with cholesterol and blood pressure, are just a few of the standard tests included in a prevention visit that will help keep my patients well. When I explain that HIV tests are no longer for people at highest risk, my patients are fine with me running the test and more likely to wait (rapid testing) or come back for their results because they don’t feel scared."
—Ligia Peralta, M.D., F.A.A.P, F.S.A.H.M., A.A.H.I.V.M.
- Page last reviewed: April 21, 2016
- Page last updated: April 21, 2016
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