Draft guidelines advise HIV screening for most teens and adults


Individuals aged 15-65 years, including pregnant women, should be screened for HIV infection, and those at risk should be given prophylaxis, according to draft recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The screening recommendation extends to younger adolescents and older adults at increased risk for HIV infection. The recommendations are level A.

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HIV remains a significant public health issue in the United States, with rates rising among individuals aged 25-29 years, although the overall number of cases has dropped slightly, according to the USPSTF report.

HIV prevention is a multistep process that includes not only screening but also wearing condoms during sex and using clean needles and syringes if injecting drugs, the researchers noted.

However, those at high risk for HIV, such as intravenous drug users, can help reduce their risk by taking a daily pill, the researchers wrote.

In an evidence report submitted to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, researchers reviewed the Cochrane databases, MEDLINE, and Embase for studies up to June 2018. Based on data from 11 trials, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) consisting of antiretroviral therapy was associated with decreased risk of HIV infection, compared with placebo or no PrEP, with consistent effects across risk categories, the investigators noted.

The most common HIV risk factors include man-to-man sexual contact, injection drug use, having sex without a condom, exchanging sex for drugs or money, and having sex with an HIV-infected partner, according to the USPSTF report.

Although PrEP was associated with renal and gastrointestinal adverse effects, most were mild and resolved when the therapy either ended or continued long term. The use of PrEP does not absolve high-risk individuals from observing safety in sex activity and intravenous drug use, the researchers noted.

The Task Force’s draft recommendation statements and draft evidence reviews are available for public comment and are posted on the Task Force website at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org. Comments can be submitted from Nov. 20, 2018, to Dec. 26, 2018, at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/tfcomment.htm.

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