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Science Behind HIV Screening

  HIV Screening. Standard Care.

In CDC’s September 2006 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC released Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in health care Settings. The revised recommendations are intended for all health care providers who practice in public or private practice where other diagnostic and screening tests are performed routinely.

Major revisions from previously published guidelines include:

  • HIV screening is recommended for all patients ages 13-64 in all health care settings after the patient is notified that testing will be done unless the patient declines (opt-out screening).
  • Persons at high-risk for HIV infection should be screened for HIV at least annually.
  • Separate written consent for HIV testing is not recommended; general consent for medical care should be sufficient to encompass consent for HIV testing.
  • Prevention counseling should not be required with HIV diagnostic testing or as part of routine HIV screening programs in health care settings.
  • HIV screening should be included in the routine panel of prenatal screening tests for all pregnant women, and HIV screening is recommended after the patient is notified that testing will be done unless the patient declines (opt-out screening).

In January 2009, “Screening for HIV in health care settings: a guidance statement from the American College of Physicians and HIV Medicine Association” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The published guidance statements align with CDC’s Revised Recommendations.

  • Guidance Statement 1: ACP recommends that clinicians adopt routine screening for HIV and encourage patients to be tested.
  • Guidance Statement 2: ACP recommends that clinicians determine the need for repeat screening on an individual basis.

In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a final recommendation statement on screening for HIV.

  • Everyone aged 15 to 65 should be screened for HIV infection. Teens younger than 15 and adults older than 65 also should be screened if they are at increased risk for HIV infection.
  • All pregnant women, including women in labor who do not know their HIV status, should be screened for HIV infection.