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The Voice of the Black Community
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Health

Push for routine HIV testing
Affordable Care Act increasing access for new patients
 
Published Friday, June 27, 2014 9:30 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

Today is National HIV Testing Day. Do you know your status?

According to the American Academy of HIV Medicine, 90 percent of all new HIV infections are caused by individuals who do not know they are infected.

AAHIVM is advocating for doctors around the country to begin routinely testing all new patients they see as the Affordable Care Act has resulted in millions of patients across the country seeing a new health care provider for the first time this year.

"Because of the ACA, providers can expect to see new patients coming into their offices," said James M. Friedman, executive director of AAHIVM. "They should apply the principles of routine HIV testing to all of those patients. This is an amazing opportunity to test patients who have never been tested before, and to facilitate regular testing with those who would benefit from it."

Since 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended routine HIV screening for all patients in all health-care setting, as well as annual screening for those at high risk for HIV infection. 

Yesterday, the CDC also released a new testing algorithm that includes a recommendations for early identification of those with acute HIV infection through the use of HIV combination tests, which can detect both HIV antigen as well as antibodies. It is estimated that as many as half of all new HIV infections are transmitted by people in the acute or early stage of infection

AAHIVM recommends that HIV providers familiarize themselves with the new testing algorithm, as well as re-familiarize themselves with the CDC's 2006 principles of routine testing.

 "It's time for providers across the country to dust off their routine testing boots, and start implementing these practices afresh," continued Friedman. "With so much turn over in the health care system, and the growth in the number of patients with new access to care, we can't afford to miss this opportunity to identify HIV infected patients and get them into regular care & treatment."

Visit the AAHIVM website at www.aahivm.org for more information.

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