Applying HIV Testing Guidelines in Clinical Practice AMERICAN FAMILY PHYSICIAN Mahoney, M. R., Fogler, J., Weber, S., Goldschmidt, R. H. 2009; 80 (12): 1441-1444


An estimated one fourth of persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are not aware they are infected. Early diagnosis of HIV has the potential to ensure optimal outcomes for infected persons and to limit the spread of the virus. Important barriers to testing among physicians include insufficient time, reimbursement issues, and lack of patient acceptance. Current HIV testing guidelines address many of these barriers by making the testing process more streamlined and less stigmatizing. The opt-out consent process has been shown to improve test acceptance. Formal pretest counseling and written consent are no longer recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nevertheless, pretest discussions provide an opportunity to give information about HIV, address fears of discrimination, and identify ongoing high-risk activities. With increased HIV screening in the primary care setting, more persons with HIV could be identified earlier, receive timely and appropriate care, and get treatment to prevent clinical progression and transmission.

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