ACP recommends routine HIV screening for all patients

Dec 01, 2008

On World AIDS Day, the American College of Physicians (ACP) is giving doctors a call-to-action to routinely encourage HIV screening to all of their patients older than 13 years. This new practice guideline appears on the Annals of Internal Medicine Web site at www.annals.org.

HIV affects more than one million people in the United States. Every year, about 20,000 new infections are caused by individuals who are unaware that they are infected with HIV. Timely identification of undiagnosed cases of HIV can help prevent further transmission.

"The purpose of the guideline is to present the available evidence to physicians as a way to help guide their decisions around screening for HIV in their practice," said Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, senior medical associate in ACP's Clinical Programs and Quality of Care Department and the lead author of the guideline. "ACP recommends that physicians adopt a routine screening policy for HIV and encourage their patients to get tested, regardless of their risk factors."

According to the guideline, physicians should offer screening to all patients, and should determine the need for repeat screening intervals on a case-by-case basis. Higher risk patients should be retested more frequently than patients who are at average risk.

Patients are considered "at risk" for HIV if they have shared injection drug needles, or if they have had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985. Sexual practices that put patients at risk include having unprotected sex with multiple partners; having an STD; or engaging in unprotected sex with anyone who falls into any of those risk categories. Patients should talk to their doctors about their individual risk of HIV.

Vincenza Snow, MD, FACP, is the director of clinical programs and quality of care at ACP. Also a general internist at a free clinic in Philadelphia, Dr. Snow sees both at-risk patients and patients who are at average risk for HIV infection. Under the new guidelines, she would be offering HIV testing to all of her patients.

"The intent of this guideline is to help prevent the unwitting spread of HIV infection," said Dr. Snow. "I would tell my patients that it's important to know your HIV status so that you do not risk infecting anyone else. Besides, an AIDS test is very simple and quick, and can be performed during a routine exam."

Source: American College of Physicians

Explore further: Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Related Stories

Vaccines from a reactor

Mar 02, 2015

In the event of an impending global flu pandemic, vaccine production could quickly reach its limits, as flu vaccines are still largely produced in embryonated chicken eggs. Udo Reichl, Director at the Max ...

Rapid test kit detects dengue antibodies from saliva

Jan 29, 2015

Finding out whether you have been infected with dengue may soon be as easy as spitting into a rapid test kit. The Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR has developed a paper-based ...

Recommended for you

HIV prevention and risk behaviors follow weekly patterns

11 hours ago

The peak time for seeking information on topics related to HIV, such as prevention and testing, is at the beginning of the week, while risky sexual behaviors tend to increase on the weekends, according to a new analysis by ...

Mathematical model seeks functional cure for HIV

12 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Individuals with the natural ability to control HIV infection in the absence of treatment are referred to as elite controllers (ECs). Such individuals maintain undetectable viral loads ...

Indiana HIV outbreak, hepatitis C epidemic sparks US alert

Apr 24, 2015

Federal health officials helping to contain an HIV outbreak in Indiana state issued an alert to health departments across the U.S. on Friday, urging them to take steps to identify and track HIV and hepatitis C cases in an ...

Why are HIV survival rates lower in the Deep South than the rest of the US?

Apr 22, 2015

The Deep South region has become the epicenter of the US HIV epidemic. Despite having only 28% of the total US population, nine states in the Deep South account for nearly 40% of national HIV diagnoses. This region has the highest HIV diagnosis rates and the highest number of people living with HIV of any ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RrMm
not rated yet Dec 01, 2008
Sounds like a sales pitch for whoever manufactures/processes the tests.
Nartoon
1 / 5 (1) Dec 01, 2008
I suspect most of the usual suspects are not the kind to visit their doctors often, if they even have a doctor.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.