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January 30, 2013

Federally Funded Health Centers Fail to Routinely Test for HIV

Seven years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended routine HIV tests for all adolescents and adults, only a fifth of federally funded safety net health providers are testing all patients between ages 13 and 64 for HIV, MedPage Today reports. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) outlined this and other data, such as the fact that an additional 55 percent of the safety net providers recommend testing for high-risk patients. Twenty-four percent of these providers, which offer services to lower-income patients, offer HIV tests only when patients requested them. A prominent reason for the lack of widespread testing was a lack of financial resources, the OIG reports.

Out of the more than 8,100 centers funded by the United States Health Resources and Services Administration, the OIG surveyed 324 health centers between May 2011 and November 2011 to determine how they had complied with four recommendations on HIV testing that the CDC made in 2006. According to the report’s findings, 29 percent of the health centers refrained from offering prevention counseling, following the CDC’s recommendation that it is too time-consuming and can cause patients to feel uncomfortable and shy away from testing. While the CDC advised offering informed consent for HIV tests, on the par with other lab screens, only 27 percent of the health sites complied; another 15 percent adopted an opt-out system of informed consent.

To read the MedPage Today article, click here.

To read the report, click here.

Search: HRSA, HIV, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, test, federally funded safety net health providers, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, OIG, ealth Resources and Services Administration.

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