The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that all teens 16 to 18 years old receive regular, routine HIV tests if they live in an area where the prevalence of HIV is greater than 0.1 percent of the population.
The AAP also advises that adolescents of any age who are tested for other sexually transmitted infections also be tested for HIV.
Previous guidelines recommended HIV testing only for teens who admitted to being sexually active. The new recommendations were outlined in a position paper released Monday that also advocates that the routine screening be done using a rapid response test that gives a diagnosis about 20 minutes after the test is conducted.
“We’re finding that when targeted testing is offered to sexually active youth… we’re not getting those youth to actually test and we have not decreased the number of new infections in [that] population,” said Dr. Jaime Martinez, an adolescent medicine specialist with Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago. He deals with HIV-infected youth daily and is one of the authors of the AAP paper.
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