U.S. Preventive Services Task Force might recommend that HIV testing become routine, according to a Reuter’s report.
If the panel makes a positive recommendation for routine HIV tests, the move would change the panel’s 2005 stance, which leaves a screening decision up to a doctor.
In 2005, the panel wasn’t convinced by the research data that were available at the time that routine HIV tests would reduce the number of infections or prevent new infections. Recent research indicates that early detection and treatment of HIV-positive individuals might reduce the spread of the disease, which could factor into the panel’s decision, according to the report.
The report also says the panel might make its recommendation available for public comment in fall 2012, but the report didn’t indicate when the panel would finalize its recommendation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health organizations have recommended routine HIV tests that can bring preventive screening to a broader segment of the population, the report says.
An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States are HIV-positive, and CDC estimates that 20 percent of those individuals are unaware that they are infected. The report says 60,000 new cases of HIV are reported annually in the United States.