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HIV Test Recommended for All Pregnant Women

Panel Revises 1996 Guidelines That Recommended Screening for High-Risk Women

Panel Broadens High Risk HIV Category

Since the publication of the 1996 HIV screening guidelines, there have been advancements in treating HIV infection with Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), which uses three or more medications in combination. HAART has been shown to dramatically slow the progression of the disease as well as reduce HIV-related death rates.

Those advances call for more vigilant HIV testing among people at high risk for the disease, says the task force.

The new HIV screening guidelines broaden the definition of high risk to include people who not only report one or more individual risk factors for HIV but also those who live or seek treatment in areas with a high prevalence of the disease, including homeless shelters and clinics devoted to the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Individual risk factors for HIV include:

  • Men who have had sex with men after 1975.
  • Men and women having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  • Past or present injection-drug users.
  • Men and women who exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.
  • Individuals whose past or present sex partners were HIV-infected, bisexual, or injection drug users.
  • People being treated for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • People with a history of blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.

The complete guidelines appear in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The USPSTF is an independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care that carries no authority to implement its recommendations. But many doctors, clinics, insurance companies, and other medical organizations follow or endorse the panel's recommendations.

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