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U.S. health panel likely to make HIV testing a standard practice

U.S. health panel is likely to make HIV testing a standard practice as checking the cholesterol levels, the news reports said. This move will fundament...

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|Aug 20|magazine4 min read

U.S. health panel is likely to make HIV testing a standard practice as checking the cholesterol levels, the news reports said.

This move will fundamentally change how the virus is detected and treated. The U.S. Preventive Services Task force, a government-backed group of scientists and clinicians is expected to make a new recommendation on HIV screening available for the public comment before the end of the year.

The health officials close to the panel said they see it making a positive recommendation for routine screening, updating their current position, issued in 2005, which leaves the decision on the doctors. 

Under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, passed in 2010, the insurers are required to cover preventive services which are recommended by the task force.

The CDC and other prominent groups have already called for routine HIV screening as a way to reach much broader population and reduce the stigma that some associate with showing up at an HIV clinic. The private initiatives have also sought to make HIV screening more affordable and accessible.

The CDC has a pilot program with drugstore chain Walgreen Co and other pharmacies for free, rapid HIV tests, whose wholesale cost is about $20 each.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first over-the-counter, self-administered HIV test from OraSure Technologies, which is expected to sell for $60. The positive result will require follow-up at the doctor’s office.

The HIV screening to the routine blood exam will cost $1.50 per patient. Meanwhile, LeFevre, the primary care doctor in Missouri cautioned that the barrier to testing goes beyond the rating of a single agency.