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U.S. News

Routine HIV Tests Have Support in Iowa

September 26, 2006

Howard Brown, health chairperson of the NAACP for Iowa and Nebraska, supports CDC's recommendation for routine HIV screening. Brown helped organize a testing drive recently in Des Moines. His group is involved because blacks are particularly hard-hit by HIV. He said if doctors test all their patients, the stigma of getting an HIV test should ease.

Nancy Thurtell, nurse practitioner for the Polk County Health Department, said her agency already routinely tests people for HIV if they have never been tested. She said she supports having private doctors add HIV tests to their health care routine, adding that most patients accept the test after staffers explain the need for it.

Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, state epidemiologist, said widespread testing would do no harm, but she is not convinced it would detect many more cases in low-risk populations. "The bottom line is, when you have scarce health resources, you have to decide if that's where you want to put them," she said. "The answer could go either way, depending on your perspective."

Dr. Lisa Veach, an infectious-disease specialist at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, said too many HIV infections are missed when doctors only test patients with known risk factors. Veach said the tests are inexpensive, and CDC's new policy should help physicians become comfortable in raising the subject. "It provides them a way to approach patients in a matter-of-fact way," she noted.

Back to other news for September 26, 2006

Adapted from:
Des Moines Register 09.22.2006; Tony Leys

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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