Routine Screening for HIV Infection--Timely and Cost-Effective

Published in: The New England Journal of Medicine, v. 352, no. 6, Editorial, Feb. 10, 2005, p. 620-621

Posted on on December 31, 2004

by Samuel A. Bozzette

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In the United States, HIV infection is generally discovered at an advanced stage, usually in the course of medical care and often during care for complications of AIDS. Earlier diagnosis is preferable because it could speed access to appropriate care and increase the proportion of HIV-infected patients receiving care, thereby improving the quality of care for affected persons and populations. This editorial highlights two studies that find widespread use of routine screening could offer these benefits at a reasonable cost, and predict that widespread use of routine screening will yield benefits for HIV-infected patients. Earlier access to antiretroviral therapy is likely to make it easier to suppress viral replication, improve immunity, and reduce drug-related adverse effects.

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