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Screening for HIV

Screening for HIV

In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people are infected with HIV, and about 50,000 new cases emerge each year. Since the first cases of AIDS were reported in 1981, more than 1.1 million people have been diagnosed with the disease, and nearly 595,000 deaths have been attributed to it. About 20% to 25% of individuals living with HIV are unaware that they are infected with the virus. According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), there is convincing evidence to suggest that identifying and treating HIV infection can markedly reduce the risk for HIV to progress to AIDS, AIDS-related events, and death in people who have immunologically advanced disease. Clinical data also show that initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) earlier in patients with HIV—when they are most likely to be asymptomatic and detected by screening rather than clinical presentation—can decrease risks for AIDS-related events or death and transmission of HIV to uninfected people. Updated Recommendations In 2013, the USPSTF updated its 2005 recommendation statement on screening for HIV for adolescents, adults, and pregnant women. The USPSTF reviewed new evidence on the effectiveness of treatments for HIV in people with CD4 counts exceeding 0.200 × 109 cells/L. It also reviewed data on the effects of screening, counseling, and ART use on risky behaviors and HIV transmission risk as well as the long-term cardiovascular harms of ART. “The new USPSTF HIV screening guidelines now align more closely with recommendations that were released by the CDC back in 2006,” adds Dr. Volberding. According to the USPSTF recommendations, which were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, all adults and adolescents...
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