May 1, 2013 — The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force on Monday published new guidelines recommending that all U.S. residents between ages 15 and 65 undergo HIV screening, regardless of their risk for contracting the infection, Reuters reports.
The updated guidelines mean that health insurers must cover HIV testing. A provision in Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover preventive services recommended by USPSTF.
The guidelines -- published in the Annals of Internal Medicine -- revise USPSTF's 2005 recommendations that only individuals considered to be at high risk undergo routine HIV screening. According to Reuters, the revised recommendations are partly based on evidence that HIV treatment can reduce transmission by as much as 96%.
The new guidelines suggest that all adults undergo screening at least once, pregnant women unaware of their HIV status get tested and individuals younger than 15 or older than 65 who are at increased risk also undergo screening. They do not specify how frequently those at high risk for HIV should be screened but recommend periodic screening.
According to Reuters, USPSTF's recommendations now align with longstanding CDC recommendations. CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Director Jonathan Mermin in a statement said, "The [USPSTF]'s new recommendations will expand the number of Americans who know their HIV status and can take action to protect themselves and their partners" (Steenhuysen, Reuters, 4/29).