Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Summarizes Editorials on CDC Routine HIV Testing Recommendations
Two newspapers recently published editorials regarding the new CDC HIV testing recommendations. The recommendations, published in the Sept. 22 edition of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, say that voluntary HIV testing should become a routine part of medical care for residents ages 13 to 64. In addition, they say that health care providers should continue routine HIV testing unless they establish that less than one of every 1,000 patients tested is HIV-positive, "at which point such screening is no longer warranted." Providers do not have to require patients to sign separate written consent forms or undergo counseling before receiving an HIV test, but physicians must allow patients to opt out of the test, according to the guidelines. The recommendations -- which states can choose to adopt and modify -- also say that all pregnant women should be tested for the virus unless they opt out and that women who are injection drug users, are commercial sex workers or who live in a higher prevalence region should be tested again in the third trimester of pregnancy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/4). Summaries appear below.
Boston Globe: The new CDC recommendations are "both sound and overdue," a Globe editorial says, adding, "A person who is ignorant of his HIV status not only will miss out on early access to treatment, but risks infecting others." Although the "value of regular testing assumes that the drug therapies be widely available," limited access to treatment exists in "too many parts of the country," according to the editorial. "Universal testing for AIDS is a development whose time has come," the editorial says, concluding, "But it must be matched by universal counseling and treatment for those who test positive for the disease. Only then will the circle of AIDS prevention and care be unbroken" (Boston Globe, 10/6).
- Economist: The routine testing proposed by CDC "would be costly, but yield hefty benefits," an Economist editorial says, adding that 250,000 Americans "do not know they are infected" so "they will not seek treatment." According to the editorial, HIV/AIDS "hits blacks hardest," primarily because of fears associated with the stigma surrounding the disease and a "widespread antipathy to homosexuality." It concludes that one important outcome from routine testing will be "reduce[d] stigma" associated with the disease (Economist, 9/28).