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The Importance of HIV/STD Prevention Counseling

The Importance of HIV/STD Prevention Counseling

According to recent estimates, approximately 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and about 50,000 new HIV infections occur each year. “Reducing transmission remains a key part of HIV prevention,” says Yuko Mizuno, PhD. “To further reduce the spread of HIV, an increased emphasis must be placed on preventing transmissions among individuals who already have the infection.” Research shows that those who are aware of their HIV status are more likely to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and their partners. Dr. Mizuno says that healthcare providers play an important role in offering critical health information and services to patients living with HIV. “In fact,” she says, “the CDC recommends that providers offer prevention counseling for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to all patients living with HIV during their routine clinic visits. Few studies, however, have explored what percentage of people in the U.S. who are living with HIV and receiving care are exposed to HIV/STD prevention counseling and whether it is reaching those who need it the most.” Examining New Data To better understand who is being reached with HIV/STD prevention counseling and how well they are being reached, Dr. Mizuno and colleagues published a study in AIDS evaluating data from the CDC’s Medi-cal Monitoring Project (MMP). The MMP provides nationally representative estimates of behavioral and clinical characteristics of HIV-infected adults receiving care in the U.S., including the estimated prevalence of exposure to HIV/STD risk-reduction interventions. According to the findings, only about 44% of people living with HIV in active care reported receiving one-on-one HIV/STD prevention counseling from their healthcare providers (Table)....
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