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Annual HIV Testing Will Now Be Covered Under Medicare

Medicare beneficiaries are now eligible for HIV testing thanks to a recent policy change announced last week. Previously the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) did not cover routine screenings under Medicare. The new policy includes coverage for an annual test for those who fall into various high-risk groups and pregnant women, as well as those who request testing identified risk factors.

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ICAAC 2009: People Who Decline Routine HIV Testing Are More Likely to Be Positive, Written Consent Requirement May Discourage Testing

People who "opted out" of routine HIV testing in a Washington, DC, emergency department were almost 3 times more likely to be infected than those who accepted voluntary testing, according to a poster presented at the 49th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC 2009) last month in San Francisco. Another study suggested that requiring written informed consent may cause more people to decline testing.

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Routine Opt-out Screening in Emergency Rooms Identifies Few Additional People with HIV

Routine opt-out HIV screening in an urban emergency department -- testing not targeted specifically to people thought to be at risk -- identified only a "modest" number of additional cases compared with standard diagnostic testing, according to a U.S. study reported in the July 21, 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) HIV/AIDS theme issue, released to coincide with the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) last month in Vienna. Most of the additional people found to be infected had late-stage disease, suggesting that a better method is needed to identify HIV positive individuals sooner so they can benefit from timely care.