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Routine HIV Screening for Most Women Recommended

Obstetrician-gynecologists can be at forefront of screening

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Obstetrician-gynecologists are well-placed to incorporate routine screening for HIV into their routine gynecologic health checks, and should screen all their patients from age 19 to 64, according to a statement from the Committee on Gynecologic Practice of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published in the August issue of ACOG Committee Opinion.

Given that an estimated one-quarter of HIV-positive people in the United States are unaware of their HIV status, routine screening can help to identify more cases, and an HIV test for women aged 19 to 64 is most easily incorporated into routine gynecologic care, the committee states.

It recommends opt-out screening, whereby women are offered an HIV test with the option of declining to consent if they wish. Declining testing should not restrict access to care, the committee writes. Rapid HIV tests can make HIV testing as part of routine gynecologic care more convenient, and re-testing should be recommended to high-risk women and those with new sexual partners.

"Obstetrician-gynecologists also should encourage women and their prospective sex partners to be tested before initiating a new sexual relationship," the committee writes. "In addition, periodic retesting could be considered even in the absence of risk factors depending on clinical judgment and the patient's wishes because patients may be concerned about their status but not know about or want to disclose risk-taking behavior to their physicians."

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