HealthDay News — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends routine HIV screening for all individuals aged 15 to 65 years and for all pregnant women in new draft guidelines.
The new recommendations are based on data that show routine screening can reduce the risk of AIDS-defining events and death, and prenatal screening of pregnant women along with anti-HIV therapy near the time of delivery can reduce mother-to-child transmission, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“Because HIV infection usually does not cause symptoms in the early stages, people need to be screened to learn if they are infected,” Task Force member Douglas K. Owens, MD, said in a statement. “People who are feeling well and learn they are infected with HIV can begin treatment earlier, reduce their chances of developing AIDS, and live longer and healthier lives.”
Between 20% and 25% of the 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV infection do not know that they are HIV-positive, according to background information in new guidelines.
Targeted screening – as recommended by the Task Force in 2005 – has been shown to miss a “substantial proportion” of infected people, the researchers noted, and the new evidence suggests that benefits of wider screening outweigh harms.