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The Surprising Test You Really Need

Discussion in 'Immunology and Rheumatology' started by Egyptian Doctor, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    When was the last time you asked your doc about an HIV test? If the answer is "never" or even "decades ago," then now might be the time to make an appointment. A new study from Northwestern University suggets that current federal HIV testing guidelines—which only recommend screening for those at high risk of infection—might be far too conservative.


    Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that those at a low risk of contracting HIV be tested at least once a lifetime. “It’s already a big step in HIV prevention that the CDC recommends even low-risk people get tested,” says lead study author Benjamin Armbruster, PhD. “We now take it one step farther by answering how often should low risk people get tested.”


    Researchers found that more frequent testing, especially for low-risk groups, would likely catch HIV early enough to boast significant health benefits for patients, and be more cost-effective for medical providers. They suggest that those at low risk of HIV should be tested every three years, and high-risk groups (such as those with HIV-positive partners) should be tested as often as every three months.


    Too busy to get to your doctor? There’s an even easier solution. This summer, the FDA approved the use of Oraquick , an at-home HIV test. The test is 99% accurate, and easy to use—just swab the Q-tip on your gums, stick it in a test tube for 20 minutes, and you’ll get instant results.


    And if you assume that you're not at risk for HIV or STIs, think again. Nearly one-fourth of all Americans living with HIV are 50 and older, according to the CDC. And while conditions like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have doubled among people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s in the past decade, safe sex awareness among older adults hasn’t improved, according to research from Kings College and Saint Thomas’s Hospital in London.

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