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JAMA Perspective Piece Examines Routine HIV Screening

January 29, 2009

"Clinicians Advised To Step Up HIV Tests," Journal of the American Medical Association: The article examines recommendations from HIV/AIDS experts regarding routine HIV testing and suggests that many medical service providers miss opportunities to conduct HIV tests. According to the article, HIV/AIDS experts endorse CDC's 2006 recommendations that medical workers offer routine HIV screening to all patients between ages 13 and 64; however, routine HIV tests have not been implemented widely. The article continues that rapid screening using a saliva test can provide an easy, accurate HIV diagnosis in a short amount of time. In addition, routine testing could increase HIV/AIDS awareness and help several thousand people access antiretroviral treatment while preventing new HIV cases. However, a lack of sufficient reimbursement from insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, poses obstacles to increasing HIV testing, some experts say. In addition, recent studies indicate that hospital emergency departments often miss opportunities to provide HIV tests to patients who are uninsured and might have no other source of regular health care, according to the article (Voelker, JAMA, 1/28).

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