Blood Pressure Test, Cholesterol Test, HIV Test?
This is not as farfetched as you may think. Possibly, before the year is out, an HIV test may be standard in your next routine blood test. According to Doctors Health Press (www.doctoshealthpress.com), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are attempting to remedy the situation with some new testing guidelines.
According the CDC, approximately 1.2 million people in the US are living with HIV and AIDS. Out of the 1.2 million, 1 in 5 doesn’t know that they have the virus. That is 240,000 people in the US alone who don’t know that they have the virus and are potentially spreading it. Hopefully with the new guidelines being proposed by the CDC, the number of people who are infected and are unaware will decrease dramatically.
The CDC’s new plan which is supported by the American Medical Association may change everything we know in terms of being tested for HIV. Right now, health officials have only recommended routine testing for people considered to be high-risk, such as IV drug users, people in the LGBT community and for all pregnant women. This only covers a small margin of individuals who should be tested. This leads to the huge problem that we are facing with this epidemic, ignorance.
Personally, I know how incredibly frightening it can be getting tested. It is a disease that in a way can change a person’s whole life. Although, treatment and survival rates have dramatically changed in the last 30 years, there is still an unfortunate stigma attached to HIV and AIDS. This in combination with the lack of information our healthcare professionals are required to give leads to not only the large number of people infected by the disease, but the continuous spread of the virus.
The CDC has released some updated guidelines, suggesting that all U.S. patients be given an HIV test as part of the standard tests they receive when they go to a hospital or clinic for urgent or emergency care. Or, the test could be made part of a person’s regular checkup with his/her family doctor. This is amazing in terms of finally taking control of the virus. This means that any time you go into the ER, urgent care or get your yearly check up, HIV will be tested right along with your blood pressure and your cholesterol.
Personally, I am thrilled that the CDC has decided to do this. My only question is, why has it taken over 30 years since the first diagnosed case for the CDC to set such guidelines? If HIV testing was standard 15 or 20 years ago, would we still be facing this silent epidemic? I suppose we will never know the answer to this question. What we will start knowing is our statuses. This will eventually start lowering the number of cases of HIV and AIDS (hopefully) due to people simply knowing if they are positive or not. Right now those 1 in 5 people who don’t know their status could be sleeping with someone without protection and spreading the virus. Hopefully, with the new CDC guidelines, the 1 in 5 will turn into 0.
It must be said though; knowledge is worthless without personal responsibility in this situation. Everyone must know their status. The new CDC guidelines do not have to exist in order to get tested. Ask your doctor for an HIV test. Most insurances cover this and with ObamaCare, insurance companies can no longer drop anyone due to a pre-existing condition. If you don’t have insurance, health departments will test. There is no reason why anyone should go without knowing their status. As always, in combination to being tested, please be safe. Knowing your status is only half the battle to this. Safe sex is the other key part. Hopefully, though, with HIV being mandated as part of the general blood screening, those who find reasons not to be tested won’t have an excuse anymore.