April 30, 2013
CDC welcomes today’s announcement by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) – an independent panel of non-federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine -- of a grade “A” recommendation for routine HIV screening. These recommendations are a critical step forward for HIV prevention and care in the United States. They reinforce the importance of people everywhere knowing their HIV status and, if positive, accessing care, receiving treatment and other prevention services.
The USPSTF statement recommends clinicians screen for HIV in all adolescents and adults aged 15-65 years. It also recommends repeat HIV screenings for those who are at increased risk for HIV infection, including men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs. Younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk for HIV infection should also be screened. These updated USPSTF recommendations align with CDC’s 2006 guidelines which state that HIV testing should be a routine part of medical care for all American adults and adolescents.
Expanding HIV testing and ensuring linkage to care for people infected with HIV is essential to ending the U.S. HIV epidemic. Today, 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, yet 1 out of 5 does not know that they have the virus. We know that those who are unaware of their infections account for approximately half of all new sexually transmitted HIV infections in the United States. Research shows that people who are HIV-positive and know their status adopt behaviors to prevent transmitting the virus to others. Routine HIV testing is critical in light of recent studies that show HIV treatment can dramatically reduce the risk that an HIV-positive person will transmit the virus to their sexual partner.
HIV testing is the only way to help the 240,000 Americans unaware that they are living with HIV, learn their status and get access to care and prevention. Implementation of these recommendations will not only increase access to HIV testing for people throughout the nation, but may also help reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing that prevents too many Americans from seeking testing or treatment.
The USPSTF recommendation statement sends a message to healthcare providers and patients that HIV testing is important and should become a standard component in healthcare. Expanding access to HIV testing also brings us closer to achieving the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy which calls for increasing the number of people living with HIV who know their status to 90 percent by 2015.
While today's announcement provides cause for optimism – we at CDC know that implementing universal HIV testing has many real world challenges. It will take all of us -- federal agencies, healthcare providers, public health officials and all Americans across the country, working together -- to effectively scale-up testing services and link those diagnosed with HIV to effective prevention, care and treatment. We believe that these recommendations will encourage all healthcare providers and individuals to act, and bring us all one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States.
Sincerely,/Jonathan H. Mermin/
Jonathan H. Mermin M.D., M.P.H.
Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
- Recommendation Statement: Screening for HIV
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U.S. Preventive Services Task ForceThe USPSTF is an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine and is composed of primary care providers (such as internists, pediatricians, family physicians, gynecologists/obstetricians, nurses, and health behavior specialists).
The USPSTF conducts scientific evidence reviews of a broad range of clinical preventive health care services (such as screening, counseling, and preventive medications) and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians and health systems. These recommendations are published in the form of "Recommendation Statements."
AHRQ's Prevention and Care Management Portfolio provides ongoing administrative, research, technical, and dissemination support to the USPSTF.
About the USPSTFThe USPSTF strives to make accurate, up-to-date, and relevant recommendations about preventive services in primary care.
To learn more detailed information about the USPSTF, including how it operates, current members and partners, and background information, visit http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/about.htm.
Methods and ProcessesFor the USPSTF to recommend a service, the benefits of the service must outweigh the harms. The USPSTF focuses on maintenance of health and quality of life as the major benefits of clinical preventive services, and not simply the identification of disease.
To learn more detailed information about the USPSTF recommendation process, methods, commentary, and resources for practice, visit http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/methods.htm.
RecommendationsUSPSTF recommendations highlight the opportunities for improving delivery of effective services and have helped others provide preventive care in different populations. USPSTF recommendations have formed the basis of the clinical standards for many professional societies, health organizations, and medical quality review groups.
To learn more detailed information about USPSTF recommendations, grade definitions, and topics in progress or to see a list of A and B recommendations relevant for implementing the Affordable Care Act, visit http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/recommendations.htm
- Draft Recommendation Statement: Screening for Suicide Risk in Adolescents, Adults, and Older Adults (April 23–May 20, 2013)
- Draft Recommendation Statement: Medications for Risk Reduction of Primary Breast Cancer in Women (April 16–May 13, 2013)
- Draft Research Plan: Screening for Iron Deficiency Anemia in Childhood and Pregnancy (April 11–May 8, 2013)
- Draft Recommendation Statement: Screening for Oral Cancer (April 9–May 6, 2013)
Nominate a New U.S. Preventive Services Task Force MemberLink to this site for all the information you need to nominate a candidate to serve as a member of the USPSTF: http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/nominate.html.
Nominating Topics for USPSTF Recommendation StatementsIndividuals and organizations interested in nominating a topic for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to consider for evaluation for a future recommendation can learn how on this page: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tftopicnom.htm.
Focus on Special PopulationsThe USPSTF is committed to improving the health of all Americans. To achieve this, the USPSTF assesses evidence on specific populations and makes specific evidence-based recommendations for specific populations.
To learn more detailed information about the Task Force's focus on special populations, visit http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/populations.htm.
Tools for Using Recommendations in Primary Care PracticeThe work of the USPSTF has helped establish the importance of including prevention in primary care. There are many tools and resources available to help you implement USPSTF recommendations into practice.
To learn more detailed information about these tools and resources, visit http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tools.htm.