The following is a statement from the National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey:
Washington, DC – “The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) is extremely pleased by the draft recommendations released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) urging that all individuals between the ages of 15 and 64 be tested for HIV. This revised recommendation brings the USPSTF in line with the latest research as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines and demonstrates the importance of making HIV screening a routine part of any health care visit. With approximately 20 percent of people living with HIV in the U.S. unaware of their status, we must do more to encourage everyone – not just those deemed to be ‘at risk’ for HIV – to be tested.
“USPSTF recommendations are widely utilized by health care professionals, but also inform cost sharing for insurance plans across the country. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), all preventive services that receive an ‘A’ or ‘B’ rating from the USPSTF must be covered without copayment, deductible, or co-insurance by all insurance plans. This includes Medicare and Medicaid. In effect, if the USPSTF draft recommendation is adopted, all insured Americans will be able to access HIV testing services free of charge.
“Individuals who know their HIV status are much more likely to take steps to protect their health and that of their partners. But failure to recognize one’s own vulnerability to HIV too often prevents individuals from requesting an HIV test. By making HIV screening a routine part of any health care visit, the draft USPSTF recommendation would eliminate the need for either the patient or clinician to recognize risk factors prior to testing and may serve to reduce the stigma associated with offering or requesting an HIV test. NMAC applauds the USPSTF for its proposed recommendation and believes its implementation is a critical step in bringing an end to this epidemic.”
Contact: Kyle Murphy, (202) 483-6622 ext. 333, firstname.lastname@example.org