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AIDS2HIV
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Reged: 12/19/05
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Routine Testing...
      #190525 - 05/09/06 10:06 PM


May 9, 8:05 PM EDT

CDC Wants Routine AIDS Virus Testing

By MIKE STOBBE
Associated Press Writer

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ATLANTA (AP) -- Testing for the AIDS virus could become part of routine physical exams for adults and teens if doctors follow new U.S. guidelines expected to be issued by this summer. Federal health officials say they'd like HIV testing to be as common as a cholesterol check.

The guidelines for voluntary testing would apply to every American ages 13 to 64, according to the proposed plan by the U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention.

One-quarter of the 1 million Americans with the AIDS virus don't know they are infected, and that group is most responsible for HIV's spread, CDC officials said.

"We need to expand access to HIV testing dramatically by making it a routine part of medical care," said the agency's Dr. Kevin Fenton.

CDC officials first disclosed the plans at a scientific conference in February. Last week, they said the guidelines should be released in June or July.

The recommendations aren't legally binding, but they influence what doctors do and what health insurance programs cover.

Currently, the CDC recommends routine testing for those at high-risk for catching the virus, such as IV drug users and gay men, and for hospitals and certain other institutions serving areas where HIV is common.

Under the new guidelines, patients would be tested for HIV as part of a standard battery of tests they receive when they go for urgent or emergency care, or even during a routine physical.

Patients wouldn't get tested every year: Repeated, annual testing would only be recommended only for those at high-risk.

There would be no consent form specifically for the HIV test; it would be covered in a clinic or hospital's standard care consent form. Patients would be allowed to decline the testing.

Standardizing HIV testing should reduce the stigma as well as transmission, CDC officials said. Nearly half of new HIV infections are discovered when doctors are trying to diagnose an illness in a patient who has come for care, they noted.

The American Medical Association supports the proposed recommendations, said Dr. Nancy Nielsen, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based physician who is speaker of the AMA's House of Delegates.

Some doctor's offices will face challenges implementing the recommendations, she added. For example, they should not give a positive HIV test result over the phone and would have to provide or arrange for counseling.

But the benefits of reducing the spread of HIV far outweigh the logistical challenges, said Nielsen, an infectious disease specialist.

"I'm so happy the CDC is recommending this," she said. "HIV is an infectious disease and it should be treated like any other infectious disease. The fact that it has been treated so differently, I think, in some ways has contributed to the stigma."

Some patients' advocates have voiced concern that the recommendations do not include pre-test counseling and sufficient informed consent.

At many HIV testing sites, patients sit through a counseling session to explain the procedure before any blood is drawn. Many centers also require a patient to give "informed consent," indicating they understand the risks and benefits of the test.

The new recommendations, as currently drafted, do not require pre-test counseling. They call for post-test counseling to be offered only to patients who test positive.

CDC officials say they understand advocates' concerns, and are optimistic physicians will follow the recommendations carefully.

"Doctors should be explicit that 'You're going to be tested,'" said Dr. Tim Mastro, acting director of the CDC's division of HIV/AIDS prevention.





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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190527 - 05/09/06 10:09 PM

Oh thats nice.. Nobody is going to go for their health care checkups unless it is related to work/school etc... Very nice...

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moonstarchild
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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190532 - 05/09/06 10:29 PM

Yes but you have to start somewhere.

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AIDS2HIV
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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190535 - 05/09/06 10:38 PM

only if you keep feeding that kind of stigma....

with 90% infected in this country that dont even know it, running around infecting others, I personally think this is one of the best things the CDC has done. I'm all for new change of addressing the HIV issue, be grateful they are looking at it again. I learned my lessons, through what Ive been through in the late stages of Aids, and wouldnt want anyone to have to go through it, especially the way i did....Blind to it, until it was almost too damn late*

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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190537 - 05/09/06 10:41 PM

I hope the CDC launches a massive PR compaign to break down the stigma of being tested and what AIDS/HIV is today for America... There needs to be alot of money thrown at this in my mind.. What do you think?

I think its a noble effort on the part of CDC and I hope they approach this very carefully. I for one am thrilled that HIV/AIDS is on so many forefronts right now. From new meds / prevention / awareness etc... There was a time it had slipped off the American Agena. I am sure something good will come of this handled correctly... How often has this not been handled correctly?? I can count a few...

Edited by EricCO (05/09/06 10:57 PM)

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AIDS2HIV
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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190540 - 05/09/06 10:55 PM

it will break the stigma itself, when its made routine. When its included in EVERYONES standard bloodwork, it will carry as much stigma as your standard bloodwork does......none. Instead the Stigma may shift to those who refuse it, which if that happens, it may just work on thier conscience to get them tested*

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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190543 - 05/09/06 10:59 PM

Well, there is no doubting the fact something needed to change. Thats a given...

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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190544 - 05/09/06 11:01 PM

Big Pharma is going to love this!
Maybe some reforms and restructuring here may result?
Maybe goverment will get involved with Pharma?
Maybe goverment will take a active roll now in affordable meds for everyone. Certainly, with the uncovering of HIV infection due to this mandate will shake up the mix in some major way?? I hope so...

"ACT UP, FIGHT AIDS!"

Edited by EricCO (05/09/06 11:09 PM)

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ny10001
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Reged: 07/08/05
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Re: Routine Testing... new
      #190627 - 05/10/06 11:53 AM

It's about time. I don't think we've even seen the tip of the iceberg yet on how bad the infection rate will be in the heterosexual community. Of those who are infected but don't know it...I think the %'s are probably worse in the heterosexual community than the homosexual community.

I belong to a few fitness web sites, and I'm still hearing words such as "I don't have to use a condom, I'm not a fag" coming out of the mouths (keyboards, actually) of young heterosexual men.

Making testing more likely and less of a stigma is definitely a step in the right direction.

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