Blog | Thursday, April 11, 2013

IM 13: Are you screening all adult patients for HIV?


If you're not screening most of the patients you see in your office, you should be. (Unless, perhaps, you're a med-peds). That was the main message that Stacey Rizza, MD, chair of HIV and outpatient infectious diseases at Mayo Clinic, had for attendees during her hospital medicine precourse session at Internal Medicine 2013. All patients, from age 13 to 64, should be screened at least once, she said. At-risk patients should be screened yearly. That's according to CDC guidelines from 2006. If you're feeling guilty right about now, don't beat yourself up too much. Even Mayo doesn't follow this guidance--though a protocol is in the works, starting with the internal medicine dept. and moving outwards, Dr. Rizza said. Their protocol will apply to all patients age 18 and older. Twenty percent of people who have HIV don't know it. And consider this: A study published in 2011 found that people who received aggressive HIV treatment for two years reduced transmission to partners by 96%. That's pretty good inspiration to get folks tested and treated.