TUESDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Eliminating the need for written consent for HIV testing can increase testing rates, according to a research letter in the March 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines advise against obtaining separate written consent for HIV testing.

Nicola M. Zetola, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed HIV testing rates per 1,000 patient-visits before and after the San Francisco Department of Public Health Medical Care System eliminated patient consent forms from medical settings in May 2006.

The monthly rate of HIV testing increased from 13.5 HIV tests over 1,000 patient-visits in June 2006 to 17.9 HIV tests per 1,000 patient-visits in December 2006. The mean monthly rate of HIV tests per 1,000 patient-visits was 4.5 more than expected at the end of the study period.

While other events may have contributed to the increase including the XVI International AIDS Conference in mid-August 2006, "the increase in testing appears to have begun before those events and maintained a steady increase thereafter," the study authors conclude. "Further studies are required for confirmation."

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Denise Mann

Updated on March 14, 2007

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