Learn about the importance of routine HIV testing and how you can screen your patients.

Why routine testing is important?

Provider perspective

  • Removes time spent conducting risk assessments
  • Reduces stigma
  • Identifying new HIV infections reduces the likelihood of continued transmission
  • HIV infection is a serious health disorder that can be diagnosed before symptoms develop
  • HIV can be detected by reliable, inexpensive, and noninvasive screening tests
  • Costs of screening are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits

Patient perspective

  • Early detection reduces community transmission risk
  • Infected patients have years of life to gain if treatment is initiated early, before symptoms develop
  • Reduces stigma for receiving an HIV test

Who should be recommended routine testing?

All patients aged 13–64 years

All patients aged 13–64 years In all health-care settings, screening for HIV infection should be performed routinely for all patients aged 13–64 years. Health-care providers should initiate screening unless prevalence of undiagnosed HIV infection in their patients has been documented to be

All patients initiating treatment for TB

All patients seeking treatment for STDs, including all patients attending STD clinics, should be screened routinely for HIV during each visit for a new complaint, regardless of whether the patient is known or suspected to have specific behavior risks for HIV infection.

All patients seeking treatment for STDs
Pregnant women

Who should be recommended repeat screening?

High Risk for HIV

Health-care providers should subsequently test all persons likely to be at high risk for HIV at least annually. Persons likely to be at high risk include injection-drug users and their sex partners, persons who exchange sex for money or drugs, sex partners of HIV-infected persons, and MSM or heterosexual persons who themselves or whose sex partners have had more than one sex partner since their most recent HIV test.

Beginning a new sexual relationship

Health-care providers should encourage patients and their prospective sex partners to be tested before initiating a new sexual relationship.

Clinical indications

Repeat screening of persons not likely to be at high risk for HIV should be performed on the basis of clinical judgment.

Occupational exposure

Unless recent HIV test results are immediately available, any person whose blood or body fluid is the source of an occupational exposure for a health-care provider should be informed of the incident and tested for HIV infection at the time the exposure occurs.

How should I recommend testing?

I (provider) recommend routine HIV testing for everyone age 13 and older. We will do an HIV test as part of your routine care today.

Questions you may be asked:

  • Will this cost me?
  • Is this covered by my insurance?