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Posted by: Ken R | July 17, 2013

Perhaps It Is Time For Routine HIV Testing?


OMAHA, NE – How much money do we have to put out for HIV education before people actually start putting a goddamn condom on? I think it is past time for routine testing of all Americans for HIV and other diseases and infections. Perhaps it is time to make HIV testing as routine as checking cholesterol levels.

New infections continue to occur in gay men, according to the CDC. “While new HIV infections had remained steady in the general public between 2008 and 2010, infections had risen by an incredible 22 percent in young gay men. Gay men represented two-thirds of new infections.” This is happening despite the millions of dollars spent to educate the populace about the HIV and how to stop the spread of HIV.

While many people will argue HIV testing is invasive, I fail to see how it is invasive if they are just adding another test (HIV) to a blood sample they already have or are already getting from you anyway. I’ve suspected they’ve been HIV testing people without permission for years anyway.  At least with a rule to make it routine, they’ll have to tell the person if they detect any evidence of HIV. Just how much space do you think you will have to choose?  Healthcare insurance is about to be mandated. I suspect many of the insurance companies will be routinely testing for HIV as part of their policies. At least if we start talking about routine testing now, the sooner we will be able to find more considerate ways of putting a routine HIV testing plan in place for ALL Americans. The cost of adding an HIV test to a routine blood exam cost as low as $1.50 per person.

An estimated 1.2 million people live in the US with HIV/AIDS. Nearly 60,000 new cases of the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS are reported nationally every year. Researchers at Stanford University estimate that over a 20-year period, expanding HIV testing to the general U.S. population would reach $27 billion dollars and prevent an estimated 212,000 in new infections I think that is a small price to pay considering the lifetime cost of treatment for HIV to be anywhere from $367,000 to $1million per patient. Nearly one in five of people living with HIV in the United States are undiagnosed, and a third are still not receiving medical care, even though antiretroviral drugs can forestall long-term health risks of the disease and cut the risk of transmission by as much as 96 percent. Testing people and getting them treatment is of the utmost importance.

On Monday, July 15th, 2013, President Barack Obama ordered stepped up efforts on the US HIV/AIDS epidemic. The new order follows recommendations this year from the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force that all 15 to 65 year olds be screened for HIV infection, something that will be covered under Obama’s signature heath reform, the Affordable Care Act.

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Responses

  1. Just because someone is forced to know their status, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to change their lifestyle. Some people will just go out, knowing, unprotected and never tell anyone, infecting every man/woman they are intimate with. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. People with obvious signs/symptoms of any other STD still spread the STD. Why? Making one a more criminal offense than any other isn’t going to solve the problem either, then you really force the infected individual not to care about telling their partner. Since no one knows who “patient zero” is, you can’t really blame one gender, or one sexuality more than the other. Either way, it took a heterosexual to have homosexual sex, or a homosexual to have heterosexual sex.

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    • I don’t see how any of your comments negate the importance of routine testing. The only way to get treatment is by testing, and treating those with HIV is the single most important thing we can do to stop the spread of HIV. “Antiretroviral drugs can forestall long-term health risks of the disease and cut the risk of transmission by as much as 96 percent. Testing people and getting them treatment is of the utmost importance.” If we want to take a serious look at the HIV/AIDS pandemic, we have to look at routine testing of the general population from age 15-65. Period.

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