Routine HIV testing encouraged, ignored

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A new guideline from the American College of Physicians calls on doctors to routinely encourage HIV screening for all patients older than 13 years, regardless of their risk factors. “The purpose of the guideline is to present the available evidence to physicians as a way to help guide their decisions around screening for HIV in their practice,” said Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, senior medical associate in ACP's Clinical Programs and Quality of Care Department and the lead author of the guideline. 

The new guideline echoes 2006 CDC recommendations and comes after researchers at a national summit convened last month by the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research reported that the vast majority of emergency departments and private-practice physicians do not routinely comply with those recommendations. Reimbursement, privacy, and time issues contribute to the lack of compliance with the CDC guideline.

According to the ACP guideline, physicians should determine the need for repeat screening intervals on a case-by-case basis. Higher risk patients should be retested more frequently than patients who are at average risk. 

The ACP guideline will appear next month in Annals of Internal Medicine but is available early online.

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