ATLANTA - Federal health officials Thursday recommended regular, routine testing for the AIDS virus for all Americans ages 13 to 64, saying an HIV test should be as common as a cholesterol check.Paid for by the public through higher taxes, higher insurance premiums or higher deductibles or all of the above.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are aimed at preventing the further spread of the disease and getting needed care for an estimated 250,000 Americans who don't yet know they have it.
"We simply must improve early diagnosis," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding.
Nearly half of new HIV infections are discovered when doctors are trying to diagnose a patient who has already grown sick with an HIV-related illness, CDC officials said.
"By identifying people earlier through a screening program, we'll allow them to access life-extending therapy, and also through prevention services, learn how to avoid transmitting HIV infection to others," said Dr. Timothy Mastro, acting director of the CDC's division of HIV/AIDS prevention.
Although some groups raised concerns, the announcement was mostly embraced by health policy experts, doctors and patient advocates.
"I think it's an incredible advance. I think it's courageous on the part of the CDC," said A. David Paltiel, a health policy expert at the Yale University School of Medicine.
The recommendations aren't legally binding, but they influence what doctors do and what health insurance programs cover.
However, some doctors' groups predict the recommendations will be challenging to implement, requiring more money and time for testing, counseling and revising consent procedures.
The trouble is I see our government mandating for it for everyone.(Some politicians advocate diabetes testing and girls getting the cervical cancer vaccine. The government is intruding into people's health decisions already) Its public health after all. Why the hell the wife and I should have to have an HIV test when we fit none of the risk groups is beyond me. We both can count our lifetime sex partners on one finger.(TFM the last of the 28-year-old Navy virgins) So why should we or others like ouselves have the test?
Uncle Sam knows best.
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