New CDC HIV/AIDS Prevention Guidelines ‘On Target,’ Greensboro News & Record Editorial Says
The new CDC HIV/AIDS prevention guidelines are "on target in aggressively wanting to prioritize the location and treatment of the HIV-positive population," a Greensboro News & Record editorial says (Greensboro News & Record, 4/22). The new regulations released last week target an estimated 200,000 people who are HIV-positive but do not know they carry the virus. The CDC is urging local health authorities to make widespread use of a rapid HIV test, approved by the FDA in November 2002 and approved for expanded availability by HHS in February. The CDC wants to offer the test in all federally funded clinics, as well as in places where there are people who may not have access to routine medical care, such as homeless shelters, jails and substance abuse treatment centers (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/17). A "more controversial" measure recommending "blanket-testing" of pregnant women and newborns is "important" as a means of reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission, the editorial states. HIV testing should be included with other routine testing in pregnant women, such as syphilis and hepatitis tests, the News & Record says. However, "the switch to proactive testing [should not] be made just to placate politicians who often are critical of safe-sex programs such as needle exchanges, condom distribution and even abstinence counseling," nor should HIV educational efforts be abandoned. The editorial concludes that the "sudden strategy shift ... should not come at the expense of effectively educating those most at risk. To do so threatens to spark future outbreaks of the deadly disease" (Greensboro News & Record, 4/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.