All Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 should be routinely tested for HIV to help catch infections earlier and stop the spread of the deadly virus, federal health recommendations announced Thursday say. ...
"We know that many HIV infected people seek health care and they don't get tested. And many people are not diagnosed until late in the course of their illness, when they're already sick with HIV-related conditions," said Dr. Timothy Mastro, acting director of the CDC's division of HIV/AIDS prevention.
"By identifying people earlier through a screening program, we'll allow them to access life-extending therapy, and also through prevention services, learn how to avoid transmitting HIV infection to others," he said.
But the vast majority of people are not at risk for getting HIV, so advocating widespread testing seems more like a proxy for politically incorrect but more useful strategies.
Some physicians also question whether there is enough evidence to expand testing beyond high-risk groups, said Dr. Larry Fields, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
"Are doctors going to do it? Probably not," Fields said.
But the recommendations were endorsed by the American Medical Association, which urged physicians to comply.
"This is important public health strategy to stop the spread of HIV," Dr. Nancy Nielsen, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based physician who sits on the AMA's governing board, said in a statement.
Maybe the AMA and the CDC should put more effort into convincing people not to have anonymous gay sex while shooting heroin. Just a thought.