Texas: Testing for HIV/AIDS at Clinics to Be Routine
December 3, 2010
HIV testing soon will be routine at 16 of the 19 public health clinics serving Austin's Travis County.
Health officials in March initiated routine HIV testing at four of the clinics run by Travis County CommUnityCare, the clinics overseen by the county's health district. Routine HIV testing will be extended to an additional 12 CommUnityCare clinics in early 2011, officials said.
"It was the right thing to do for the community at the right time," said Lynda Blakeslee, grant program manager at the David Powell Clinic, a facility for HIV patients. About 55 percent of adults between 18 and 64 have never been tested for HIV, a recent CDC report found.
The routine testing is being offered to patients ages 18-64, with an opt-out provision. In the past year, 32,424 of CommUnityCare's 50,608 patients were ages 18-64.
The clinics since March have administered 1,300 HIV tests, identifying one HIV infection and another indeterminate, and likely positive, case. Health officials said they expect the program, when fully implemented, to have an HIV-positive rate of about 1 percent.
A state law this year requires HIV testing of pregnant women in the third trimester, in addition to the existing requirement for HIV testing at the first prenatal visit.
State and federal funds totaling $4.4 million will be used this year to support hospitals, clinics, jails, and other facilities with routine HIV testing, state officials said.
12.01.2010; Mary Ann Roser
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