CDC Recommends HIV Combination Tests for Faster Diagnosis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 26, 2014, said that it is now recommending HIV combinations tests that can detect infection up to three to four weeks faster, as well as detect specific antibodies in the blood that would show the body is reacting to the presence of the virus.

According to the CDC, an estimated 50,000 people become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the U.S. annually, and about half of new infections are transmitted by people who do not know they are HIV-positive.

In 2012, there were 1,461 cases of HIV diagnosed in Pennsylvania according to the most recent statistics available from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Speedier diagnosis is critical since many new infections are transmitted by people in the earliest stage of infection, the CDC said.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has several resources on its website related to HIV testing, including a general overview of the law for HIV testing under Pennsylvania’s Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information Act, a customizable patient handout containing example language for physicians to give patients on routine HIV testing, and an example policy.