So it’s been a very busy week in health policy. The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) – the federally funded panel charged with making recommendations to primary care providers on which clinical preventative services to offer to patients – this week made it’s final recommendation on HIV screening in adults.
The new recommendations fall into line with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, stating that all adults age 15 through 65 should undergo routine HIV screening regardless of risk factors.
The USPSTF gave a grade “A” recommendation for routine testing. Why is that important? Because under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to cover preventive services that receive an A or B recommendation by the USPSTF. These preventative services have to be provided without out of pocket costs to the patient, meaning the service isn’t subject to a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible.
This is a critical next step to reducing the stigma around HIV and to improving rates of HIV screening in the country. It should also eliminate confusion on the part of physicians as to which patients should be screened. And routine screening should aid in reducing the spread of HIV by identifying new cases and starting therapy when appropriate.