Testing and Surveillance
To track the spread of HIV and AIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counts the number of AIDS cases. Recently, CDC recommended that states also report HIV cases. But the IOM report says that neither of these methods provide an accurate picture of the HIV epidemic.
To obtain an accurate, national estimate of HIV infections, a new surveillance system should be created to enable public health officials to track recent changes in the epidemic. Instead of trying to count as many new HIV infections as possible, the number of new infections should be estimated by testing a statistically valid sample of people at the highest risk. Random, anonymous blood samples could be taken at health care facilities that treat those at higher risk of contracting HIV, such as family planning clinics, substance-abuse treatment facilities, or clinics that treat tuberculosis or sexually transmitted diseases.
Medical facilities that treat patients who are at high risk or already infected with HIV should routinely take sexual and drug-use histories, provide counseling on risky behavior, and offer HIV tests, No Time to Lose says. National HIV Testing Resources provides detailed information on HIV/AIDS testing in your area.
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