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Routine HIV Screening in Emergency Centers

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Published on May 14, 2013

HIV disproportionately affects populations that are likely to be without a regular source of care or have a history of barriers to care, which may contribute to delayed diagnosis and further transmission of HIV. EDs whose patients include large numbers of underinsured and uninsured are likely the only source of health care for many people with HIV or at risk for HIV.

CDC data indicate that roughly 18% of the estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States are unaware of being infected with HIV. Emergency Departments (EDs) have an important role to play in this public health crisis. In keeping with CDC's 2006 guidelines recommending routine HIV screening, all patients seeking care in health centers should be screened for HIV. The United States Preventative Health Task Force has given routine HIV screening an A rating.
Routine HIV and STD screenings not only provide the opportunity to educate patients about transmission of HIV and STDs, but also can allow people who are infected to receive care and services.

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