Institute of Medicine Urges Free HIV Screening for Women

Institute of Medicine Urges Free HIV Screening for All Women New Report Lists HIV Tests among Preventive Services That Should Be Covered at No Cost by Insurers

Washington, DC — Yesterday, July 19, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report in which it called for the inclusion of eight preventive health services for women, including HIV screening and counseling, in the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) comprehensive list of preventive services. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all insurance plans offer services included on HHS’ comprehensive list at no cost to all patients.

“The IOM’s recommendations are an important step in promoting the sexual health and overall wellbeing of all women,” said National Minority AIDS Council Deputy Executive Director Daniel C. Montoya. “Women carry an increasingly heavy burden of HIV in the U.S., especially women of color. African American women are fifteen times more likely to be infected than white women, while among Latina women the rate of infection is about 4 times as high as white women. Ensuring that all women have access to free screening and counseling services will help strengthen our nation’s HIV prevention efforts and ensure the health of women and families across the United States.”

The IOM list of recommended services also included “contraceptive methods and counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies” as well as “screening and counseling to detect and prevent interpersonal and domestic violence.”

“Listing contraception, including education as well as domestic violence screening and counseling in its recommendations is also extremely critical in combatting not just HIV, but all sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” continued Montoya. “Empowering women to take control of their reproductive and sexual health will not only help prevent unwanted pregnancies, but ensure that women have the tools to negotiate safer sex practices — something that is all too difficult in abusive relationships. The IOM’s recommendations highlight the critical impact these issues have on women’s health, and by extension America’s health.”


Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333