A year-long pilot program has shown that integrating HIV screening into primary-care visits is feasible and acceptable to patients, staff, and clinic leadership. Now, the CDC has released guidelines to help primary-care facilities launch routine HIV screening initiatives.

Authored by the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, the guidelines note that it is important for community health centers to offer HIV testing because the patients who receive medical care there are often members of groups that may be at high risk of infection.

“Just as HIV testing of pregnant women has become a standard of care, so too should HIV and STD screening be included as a standard of care along with cholesterol or blood-sugar screenings,” the CDC wrote.

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The guidelines advise that adding routine HIV testing to a primary-care setting requires five steps: (1) mapping current patient flow; (2) identifying where HIV testing is to occur; (3) assigning someone to administer the HIV test; (4) determining who gives the results; and (5) documenting the results.

Health centers without Ryan White funding need to develop a tracking system to ensure that results are documented and that a reminder/recall system is in place so that persons with reactive HIV tests or those whose tests yielded indeterminate results can be contacted.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Implementation of routine HIV testing in health care settings: Issues for community health centers.” Published online April 2011.