New Guidelines Recommend Routine HIV Checks for All Americans

New guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend all Americans ages 15 to 64 are screened for HIV as they are for cholesterol, the AP reports:

HivThe updated guidelines will bring this long-simmering issue before doctors and their patients again — emphasizing that public health experts agree on how important it is to test even people who don’t think they’re at risk, because they could be….And if finalized, the task force guidelines could extend the number of people eligible for an HIV screening without a copay in their doctor’s office, as part of free preventive care under the Obama administration’s health care law. Under the task force’s previous guidelines, only people at increased risk for HIV — which includes gay and bisexual men and injecting drug users — were eligible for that no-copay screening."

Every year, about 50,000 individuals in the U.S. are newly infected with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of December 2011, the agency estimated that 1.2 million Americans had the virus, but it also noted that as many as 240,000 were not aware of it.

Says Chris Collins, Vice President and Director of Public Policy for amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, in a statement to Towleroad: “Too many people living with HIV don’t know it and too often health care providers don’t offer their clients an HIV test.  Today’s recommendation sends a clear message that screening for HIV should be a normal, routine part of appropriate health care.  It’s an important step forward in connecting people to the lifesaving care they need.”


  1. says

    it’s largely spread by people who do not know that they’re positive and far too many people think they’re “not in a situation where they could be exposed”, whatever situation or circumstances they may be in.

    testing. for everyone. E V E R Y O N E.

  2. says

    The CDC recommended routine screening in 2006. In 2010, the CDC again recommended routine screening. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended routine screening.

    in 2010 NY State had to make it a law to REQUIRE that ALL health professionals MUST offer ALL patients an HIV test in ALL medical settings (took effect in 2011).

    Guess what, doctors in NY still aren’t offering HIV tests to everyone.

  3. jason says

    HIV does not cause AIDS. Besides, AIDS is manageable these days. It is not a fatal condition unless you lead a very poor lifestyle of drugs, promiscuity and late night partying.

    Thumbs down to the test Nazis. Tell them to go test themselves.

  4. jason says

    The other thing I should mention is that someone is going to make a LOT of money through the selling of this HIV test. Think billions. Why should we enable it?

    HIV is not a worry to me nor should it be to you. If you are not promiscuous, you don’t have anything to worry about. Even if you have HIV, it’s manageable through healthy living choices. The choice is yours.

    Reject the HIV test – it’s of no use except to the corporates and the misguided promiscuous dunderheads who want everyone to be dragged down to their level of promiscuity.

  5. says

    Then what does cause AIDS, Jason? The treatments available are premised on the unending arms race with HIV and compromised immune systems. There is no vaccine or cure, and medication like antiretrovirals are costly meaning it remains manageable only for those that can afford it.

    Regular testing and prevention should be routine anyway, so the patients and their care providers are aware. Check your history again, this isn’t Nazism, this is preventative health care.

  6. jason says


    There are lots of people out there with compromised immune systems who do not have HIV in their bodies. Immune system deficiency that is not caused by a virus has been around since time began.

    I would be far more concerned about syphilis, an actual disease, than I would be about an illness that is a syndrome and which can largely be avoided through better lifestyle choices.

  7. MikeBoston says

    The scary pary of this initiative is the latent stigma against those who test positive. Before I would support mandatory or universally recommended testing, there would have to be hardcore laws against any discrimination based on sero status – coverin employment, insurance, and housing.

  8. Sean in Dallas says

    Holy sh*t–an HIV denier.

    People just don’t get it…the same science that allows them to express their batty theories on the Internet also allowed us to figure out what used to be the mystery of AIDS and HIV.

  9. dms says

    the sad thing is the guys who willingly market themselves as bottoms willing to have unsafe sex on web sites. Why would people do this knowing all that we know today?

  10. says

    We aren’t talking about congenital and other autoimmune conditions, we’re talking about acquired immunodeficiency, and the evidence points to a viral cause.

    This goes beyond denialism, which belies lacking empathy for the real suffering of others. Calling it an issue of “poor lifestyle” can only be translated as not the problem of those that can afford treatment or the range of choice in prevention. Applying your own moral code on others, doesn’t help anyone. If all you think about when you hear HIV/AIDS is promiscuity, drug use, and that it isn’t worth your time, then the problem is with your own selfish and reactionary desire to not give a damn. That is, until it is your problem.

    It is in everyone’s interest to having testing available, not knowing or caring is more dangerous for anyone involved. It goes to Mike’s point that there is still discrimination and stigma.

  11. drewboo says

    I think this is really dumb because it really doesnt solve anything. Lets force people to find out that they are HIV positive for free but not do anything to make HIV management affordable!! Great idea!! Lets just wear down the American people with enormous costs they cant even afford.

  12. says

    i suppose “drew” feels it’s better to….’save money by not knowing that you have HIV’ – or something equally stupid to that effect.

    know your status. keep up to date with your status. but the first step is knowing.

  13. millerbeach1964 says

    Well, he’s just our pet troll on this board. Of course, no one believes him, as his credibility was shot several false posts ago. I actually had to talk my doctor into giving me one. I was at my annual physical, and I thought, gee, it’s been over ten years…doc says I am not in risk group, I claim I am, even if I am not promiscuous. It’s negative, as he thought it would be, but I had piece of mind. Get tested. Knowledge is power.

  14. says

    to any people who still deal with the nervousness of getting tested – make it a habit. get tested a few times a year. do it regularly. make it a regular thing. take the fear away. Not Knowing has never been a cure for anything.

  15. Rob says

    As a physician, I’m always hamstrung wondering whether or not a given patient has HIV. Badgering them into getting tested is a huge pain and it sounds like I think they’re gay, or their husband is. Routine testing like cholesterol or colonoscopy over 50 makes a lot of sense.

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