AIDS

CDC Pushes for HIV Testing to Become Routine Medical Care

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This Sunday is National HIV Testing Day, and what better way to celebrate than to, you know, get yourself tested. You can find a testing location near you by simply plugging in your zip code at hivtest.org or checking out one of the events held in conjunction with National Testing Day.

Meanwhile, though, the Centers for Disease Control is pushing for HIV tests to become part of routine medical care.

(A)s part of its Act Against AIDS Campaign, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched an initiative called HIV Screening, Standard Care.

The purpose is to help physicians make HIV testing a standard part of medical care.

The initiative is another step in the CDC's implementation of its 2006 HIV screening recommendations that advises anyone age 13-64 is tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime during routine medical care.

Soon, Americans will have access to an HIV test that can detect the presence of proteins released by the virus, allowing much earlier detection and treatment. Six years after approval in Europe, the FDA has given its ok to the new HIV test developed by Abbot Laboratories.

The sooner patients are diagnosed and placed into care, the better the chance there is to stop further spread of the virus, said Abbott's senior director for research and development of infectious disease diagnostics.

"With this test, we can detect probably at least 90 percent of the so-called acute infections, people in those early stages, in those first few weeks before they develop those antibodies," Abbott's Gerald Schochetman told Reuters in an interview.

The test is also the first one approved for pregnant women. The test will cost the same as a standard HIV test, and is expected to be available by the end of this year.

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