NCHR Comments on the USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection Screening

National Center for Health Research: December 20 2018

Thank you for the opportunity to express our views on the draft recommendations for screening for HIV in adolescents, adults aged 15-65 and pregnant women. The National Center for Health Research is a nonprofit research center that conducts, analyzes, and reviews research on a range of health issues, with a particular focus on which prevention strategies and treatments are most effective for which patients and consumers. We do not accept funding from pharmaceutical companies and have no financial ties to this issue.

We enthusiastically support the efforts of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to re-evaluate its recommendations as new research emerges. We strongly agree with the USPSTF recommendation that clinicians screen adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65, as well pregnant women during their prenatal period or when they present in labor or at delivery and their HIV status is not known.

As stated in the review and recommendations, while antiretroviral treatments are known to cause certain side effects, early screening and treatment of people who have an HIV infection regardless of the CD4 cell count slows down disease progression, reduces the risk of chronic infections, and decreases the risk of sexual transmission as well as mother to child transmission. While there are known risks of antiretroviral therapy, the benefits of early detection and treatment of HIV in adolescents, adults and pregnant women have proven to be beneficial in the long term.

In summary, we strongly support USPSTF’s draft recommendation for the screening of HIV infection in adolescents and adults aged 15-65, pregnant women, as well as younger adolescents and older adults that are at increased risk.

If you have any questions, please contact Varuna Srinivasan, MBBS MPH, at