Recommendations for HIV screening were established by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2005. A recent publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports a change has been made to screening recommendations that include recommendations for screening during pregnancy.

According to the new recommendations, clinicians should screen all patients between 15 and 65 years of age for HIV. If patients younger than 15 or older than 65 are at increased risk of contracting the virus, they should also be screening.

Recommendations for pregnant women have been changed to suggest all pregnant women be screened for HIV, even if the screening must be done during labor if HIV status has not been determined.

The changes to HIV screening recommendations come after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reviewed the current medical literature on the effectiveness of treatment, screening, counseling and ART (anti-retroviral therapy) on health and other medical factors.

The Task Force takes clinical evidence into consideration when making changes to screening recommendations. The cost of changes is not taken into consideration. The Task Force also suggests clinicians personalize care for each patient. Though the recommendations include all patients from 15 to 65 and all pregnant women, individual cases will determine the need for screening. Patients should not be forced to submit to HIV screening if patient history does not suggest screening is necessary or if the patient refuses the test.

Source: Virginia A. Moyer, MD, MPH. Screening for HIV: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Ann Intern Med. Published online 30 April 2013 doi:10.7326/0003-4819-159-1-201307020-00645.