AAP Recommends HIV Testing for Teens and Young Adults

If you see an increase in HIV screening in your pediatrician/family practice office, it’s because new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidance encourages pediatricians to know the symptoms of early-stage HIV and openly discuss sexual activity and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) with patients.

An estimated 1.2 million people 13 and older were living with HIV in the United States at the end of 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. Of those infected, 5.8 percent were adolescents and young adults between the ages of 13 to 24. With more than half unaware they have the disease, this age group were the least likely to know they were infected, according to CDC data.

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To help reduce infections in this age group, the AAP recommends pediatricians to test routinely their adolescent patients for HIV. In communities where more than 0.1 percent is infected with the virus, physicians should offer all patients between the ages of 16 and 18  the test at least once, the AAP says.

The AAP encourages physicians to regularly screen patients for sexual activity and substance use, so no cases are overlooked. Pediatricians should recognize the symptoms of the early stages of HIV infection, which include influenza-like illness, diarrhea, mononucleosis symptoms, fever, and skin rash.

Source: Moyer, Christine S.; “HIV Testing Recommended for Teens and Young adults,” amednews.com, Nov. 14, 2011.


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