U.S. health panel, U.S. Preventive Services Task force, is working to make HIV testing standard.
This new practice would make HIV testing as routine as checking cholesterol levels and change how HIV is detected and treated.
The panel is likely to recommend HIV screening, which will be available for public comment and change their 2005 position which leaves the decision up to doctors.
While organizations such as the CDC have already advocated for routine HIV testing to disassociate the negative stigma of visiting an HIV clinic, a recommendation by the panel would be of greater value. The U.S. health reform law will thus require that insurers cover such preventive services.
With almost 60,000 new cases of HIV developing each year, this decision would prevent 212,000 of those cases which amount to lifetime treatment costs of $367,000 each.
The standardized testing, however, would be expected to cost the U.S. population $27,000 over 20 years.
To help lower such costs, researches proposed the idea of a one-time screening of the general population, with followup, annual testing in areas with greater prevalence of the disease.