The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is urging that Americans from the ages of 15 to 64 get an HIV test at least once, and not just people who are considered at high risk for the virus.
The bottom line is to make HIV screening a routine part of a check-up.
Right now there are more than a million Americans living with HIV and of that number nearly 20 percent don’t even know they have it and that’s one of the reasons why they’re recommending expanding testing,”I think it’s a great proposal, I think it’s important to realize that HIV can affect people differently and you could have the infection without realizing it , carrying it for years,” says Anne Awad, the President and CEO of Caring Health Center.
The center has a clinic and offers services for people who are diagnosed with HIV or aids.
Awad says making the testing routine like a normal blood test for example would take away some of the stigma attached to HIV testing.
Early diagnosis and treatment has come a long way in helping those with HIV and aids,”I think we should celebrate the progress this country has made in treatment of aids , 20 years ago it could be a death sentence and today it’s a chronic disease or condition people can live with either medication, support or lifestyle changes” says Anne Awad.
Besides testing people between the ages of 15 and 64, the task force recommends that people at very high risk for HIV infection be tested annually.
And they say pregnant women should be tested during pregnancy.