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Study: HIV
testing should be expanded in hospitals

Study: HIV
testing should be expanded in hospitals

All patients who undergo hospital treatment should be offered HIV antibody tests regardless of risk group.

All patients who undergo treatment in a hospital should be offered HIV antibody tests regardless of whether they're in a high-risk group, according to a study in the April issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Reuters Health reports. Currently, hospital patients are screened for HIV only if they're deemed to be at a high risk for infection, but researchers at Boston Medical Center write that HIV antibody testing should become routine in U.S. hospitals. They also point out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended routine testing for inpatients since 1993.

The scientists are basing their recommendation on a study that showed about half of HIV infections found through routine testing in hospital settings would not have been identified because the patients were not considered to be in a high-risk group. The study also showed that routine testing can identify HIV infections at earlier stages of the disease when HIV is easier to treat. Without routine testing, those deemed not at risk for the disease might not be diagnosed with HIV infection until they are experiencing AIDS-related complications, the researchers say. (The Advocate)

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