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News: HIV Screening

June 27th is National HIV Testing Day, a day that was established as an annual observance to promote HIV testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1,178,350 Americans are living with HIV; of those, approximately 240,000 are unaware of their HIV-positive status. Increasing the number of persons who are aware of their status is a critical strategy for preventing further HIV infections. 

 

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65 years get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that individuals get tested at least once in their lifetimes and those with risk factors get tested more frequently. A general rule for those with risk factors is to get tested at least annually. Additionally, CDC has recently reported that sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from getting an HIV test more often, perhaps every 3-6 months. Persons likely to be at high risk include injection-drug users and their sex partners, persons who exchange sex for money or drugs, sex partners of HIV-infected persons, and heterosexual persons who themselves or whose sex partners have had more than one sex partner since their most recent HIV test. It is recommended that all pregnant women be screened for HIV early in pregnancy and again in the third trimester. 

 

Early detection allows for better outcomes. Studies show that HIV-infected individuals have a considerably lower risk of developing AIDS or other serious illnesses if they start taking antiretroviral drugs sooner. Know your stats and get tested.

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