I also grew up at the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and feel pretty strongly about this issue. It affected my life in many ways. I lost many friends, feared the loss of many others, met wonderful people teaching prevention and decided to become a Registered Dietitian because of the volunteer work I did with an AIDS organization.
I received my health care in the late 80s and 90s through planned parenthood as I had no insurance. Every time I had an exam, they asked me if I wanted an HIV/AIDS test. If I said no, they provided education materials that I could read, or ignore - up to me. Although I was not in any group to be considered "at risk." I still chose to be tested.
(Sorry TMI) Before I stopped using condoms with my boyfriend, I required that we both be tested. Same thing with my now husband. Again, we were not at "special risk" but after growing up at the start of it all, I wasn't shy about being safe.
I think testing should be offered to all free of charge. I think doctors should ask at your visit whether you want to be tested. If you feel you don't need it, you should be able to tell your doctor that and ask him/her not to ask you again. This epidemic has been around for decades and it is still spreading and still killing people. There are more than 50,000 new HIV infections per year. And the CDC estimates 1.1 million people are infected and don't know it.
I think routine testing and discussion would help break down the remaining stigma surrounding it. After all, we routinely test donated blood. Why can't we offer it to people routinely too?
ps. as a healthcare worker, I do know people who have had tuberculosis and I've seen its devastating affects as well.
While YOUR lifestyle may not put you in the high risk group... other people you come in contact with may expose you.
March 2013......Tulsa, Oklahoma (CNN) -- W. Scott Harrington's dentist in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, suburb exposed some of his patients to hepatitis or HIV. investigators discovered unsanitary, unprofessional conditions at Harrington's office in Owasso, that one official said created a "perfect storm" for infections. Read More www.cnn.com/2013/03/30/health/oklahoma-den tal-warning
As an individual, you should be able to decide whether or not you need to be checked. To my knowledge, I am not a risk factor, and I choose not to be poked at because of someone else's wishes, nor to I want to spend more insurance money on things I don't need. It drives health care premiums up when people give into greedy health care providers who suggest getting tests, etc. that really are not necessary for some.
Good example -- why should a woman in her mid-80's get a colonoscopy? My mom runs circles around some 60-year-olds. Her part of the insurance bill would have been in the thousands. I think she made a good decision to not have this procedure at her age.
Note to OP -- Add healthcare workers to people at high risk. They work around blood and needles all the time. Any time a finger-stick happens, health care providers are highly obligated to go through AIDS testing for the next 2 years. So if that happens, it also puts their spouses/partners at risk too.
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2,241 4/30/13 12:55 P
If it's covered by insurance, great. It's just one more test in a litany of "stay-healthy" preventative blood tests. No biggie.
It's just my interpretation but I think the new ruling would make it COVERED by health care for ALL who qualify (not just high risk people) while you would still have the option ..not to have your doctor do it. You almost always have the option not to have a procedure done.
I am for it if I go to doctor and need blood sample and then checked for that also, but to just go in for that when I know me and my husband so well and we have been together over 25 years with no other partners is a waste of my time. I hate blood drawn it hurts as they have a hard time finding my veins so they say. I come back black and blue, but will give kudos to the last two young ladies who didnt leave a tiny mark on me and only had to poke me once verses 3 or 4 times that leaves me with huge bruises.
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19,221 4/30/13 12:08 P
I feel that it should be up to the individual. Especially if they feel that they might be at risk. But I also think that if you have a good relationship with your doctor ask him or her about it.
My doctor told me about this a couple of years ago. He knew me pretty well and said that I didn't need to be tested because I had no risk factors. I have a new doctor now (insurance made me switch). She didn't mention it at my checkup in January.
I think that doctors need to think more of us as individuals rather than grouping everyone together the way they commonly do when they recommend tests. On one hand, I think we'd save a lot of money if we weren't performing tests when they weren't really indicated. On the other hand, maybe it would cost more because our doctors would have to spend more time (and time is money) taking a good history and getting to know us as individuals.
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2,953 4/30/13 11:05 A
In Canada it is available to anyone who wants to be tested including children and teens (with parental permission that is)
I think it should be available to anyone who wants it. That's probably the real goal of this initiative-- if they call for it to be routine, then health insurance will have to pay for it and clinics (at schools and colleges, for example) can get funding to help make it affordable for the uninsured. And if they make it just a routine part of your annual checkup, something doctors just do when they do bloodwork for anemia and cholesterol, they'll save some lives. There are a lot of people who have no idea they're at risk, and a lot more who are like, "Well, there was that ONE time with that guy I shouldn't have gone with and haven't heard from in years... But come on, you don't get AIDS from one time with a normal-looking guy, right?" Those people aren't going to go out and find a doctor especially for HIV testing, but if it's done when they get their cholesterol screening, they'll know and they can get on the medication (and hopefully take the precautions to avoid spreading it.) Since it's not very expensive anymore, it probably ought to be routine. I mean, come on. We still test for tuberculosis, and how many people have every heard of someone getting that?
I'm old enough to remember the 1980s when young people were dying daily from a "plague" we did not understand, could not treat and generally feared. We've come a long way and if routine testing can: -- Prevent mother-to-baby transmission -- Ensure HIV+ people seek early treatment -- Add quality & quantity to the lives of HIV+ people
Then, I'm all for it. I was tested in my 30s (when my behavior was somewhat risky) and I would encourage anyone to be tested --- Information Is Power!
(Reuters) - An influential U.S. panel is calling for HIV screening for ALL Americans aged 15 to 65, regardless of whether they are considered to be at high risk….. CURRENTLY, the healthcare law recommends coverage of HIV testing for adolescents and adults who are at HIGH risk of infection.
CDC believes HIV testing should be as routine as a cholesterol test or a blood pressure check - but so far fewer than half of Americans have ever been tested
50,000 NEW INFECTIONS A YEAR…..Despite strides in reducing cases of HIV infection in the United States in the past three decades, as many as 50,000 Americans become infected with the virus each year……The CDC estimates that almost 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, yet 20 percent to 25 percent of them do not know it.
The group also recommends that teens younger than 15 and adults older than 65 should be screened if they are at increased risk for HIV infection. And it recommends that all pregnant women - including those in labor - who do not know their HIV status should be tested.
The guidelines call for screening at least once for all adults, and it recommends periodic screening for individuals at higher risk of infection. But it does not specify how frequently people at high risk for infection should be tested.
High-risk groups include those who have sex with gay or bisexual men, illicit drug users and economically disadvantaged populations in which HIV rates are high.
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