Target: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Goal: Test all adults for HIV in order to protect public health
An influential team of doctors and scientists are calling for HIV screenings for all adult Americans as standard procedure, rather than based on risky behavior. Please sign this petition in support of default HIV testing as a way to protect Americans and reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing.
The U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) recently changed their 2005 recommendation to only perform HIV screenings on high-risk individuals to now test all adults aged 15-65, regardless of their risk. The USPSTF is a government panel of doctors and scientists considered national experts in prevention and evidence-based recommendations. Experts believe the new recommendation will trigger coverage for the tests as a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, thus requiring insurers to cover the screens. The recommended guidelines do allow for individuals to opt out of testing as well.
While the United States has made significant strides in reducing cases of HIV infection, as many as 50,000 Americans continue to become infected with the virus each year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which also supports default testing, estimates that almost 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, yet 20 to 25 percent of them are unaware of it. According to NBC News, “The recommendations are based on evidence showing the benefits and risks of HIV testing and treatment. Recent studies have shown that HIV treatment can reduce transmission of the virus to an uninfected partner by as much as 96 percent.”
Please sign this petition and urge the Department of Health & Human Services to adopt the Task Force’s recommendation to screen all adults for HIV. Default screenings will reduce stigma surrounding the virus and reduce the infection rate with heightened awareness and early intervention.
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently recommended that HIV screenings be performed for all Americans aged 15 to 65, regardless of their risk. The default screenings will reduce stigma surrounding HIV testing and protect more Americans from contracting and spreading the virus. Please implement the USPSTF recommendation and provide HIV tests as a preventive service covered under the Affordable Care Act.
The USPSTF joins the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in recommending that all adults between the ages of 15 and 65 be tested for HIV regardless of risky behavior. The new recommendations should clear up any confusion about testing among some primary care doctors who have not been offering the test to all of their adult patients. Widespread testing will also reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing and lead to quicker interventions to combat the virus and associated ailments. Many Americans do not know their HIV status but default testing will expand that knowledge and allow people to take action to protect themselves and their partners.
The CDC estimates that almost 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, yet 20 to 25 percent of them do not know it. Despite efforts to reduce cases of HIV infection in the United States over the past three decades, as many as 50,000 Americans become infected with the virus each year. The CDC believes HIV testing should be a routine as a cholesterol test or a blood pressure check, however, far fewer than half of Americans have ever been tested.
Please support recommendations from the USPSTF and implement routine HIV tests for all adults in order to protect the public, and provide individuals with the information and care they need.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: 365voice via Yahoo