Advances in HIV screening and care

HIV: 1 in 6 is infected without knowing itDoctor talking with patient

The CDC estimates that approximately 1.1 million persons live with HIV in the United States. It’s also estimated that nearly one out of every six HIV-infected persons is unaware of his or her infection and therefore unable to benefit from clinical care to reduce morbidity and mortality.

That means there are patients who may unknowingly be transmitting HIV. Physicians can play an active role in addressing this issue by screening for HIV according to updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines.

Why more people should be tested for HIV

Young woman standing outsideIncidence rates for HIV infection have not gone down, suggesting that the previous strategy of risk-based testing has not been effective. New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) help address this important public health issue.*

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Association of Public Health Laboratories. Laboratory testing for the diagnosis of HIV infection: updated recommendations. June 27, 2014. Available at:

Changes to HIV screening guidelines 

Think Big HIV continuum chart

CDC recommendations* for HIV screening include:

  • Offer HIV screening as routine testing for all patients ages 13 to 64, not only to high-risk patients.
  • Talk to your patients about HIV testing in all healthcare settings. Unless your patient declines, you should order screening.
  • Offer HIV screening to pregnant women routinely, in addition to the usual panel of prenatal screening tests.
  • Prevention counseling is strongly encouraged for high-risk patients, but not required in all healthcare settings.*

* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV in the United States: At A Glance. Available online at Last reviewed and updated December 3, 2013. Accessed February 14, 2014.

USPSTF 2013 recommendations* for HIV screening include:

  • Screen adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65 years for HIV infection. Younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk should also be screened.
  • Screen all pregnant women for HIV, including those who present in labor who are untested and whose HIV status is unknown.

* Moyer VA, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for HIV: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159:51–60.

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