HIV Testing Should Become Routine, Especially in Hard-Hit Countries, Opinion Piece Says
As AIDS-related illnesses kill 8,000 people worldwide each day and 14,000 people become HIV-positive daily, "[i]t's time to move to routine [HIV] testing" in countries with high HIV prevalence, Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist writes in a Times opinion piece. Ninety percent of HIV-positive people worldwide do not know their status, and "you can't begin to tackle the disease when no one knows who has it," according to Kristof. The "tip-toeing approach" of voluntary HIV testing and counseling is "costing millions of lives," Kristof writes, adding that people living in countries with high HIV prevalence should be tested for HIV "whenever they enter the medical system, marry, enter the armed forces, take a job in the civil service or get pregnant." Although it is inevitable that routine HIV testing will "cause difficulties" and that "despite efforts to safeguard privacy, some who test positive will become pariahs and will be driven from their villages," the world must "acknowledge that the present strategy isn't adequate," Kristof writes. He adds, "We need a more aggressive approach, built around greater testing, so that we don't go through another few decades" with people dying needlessly (Kristof, New York Times, 9/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.