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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended in 2006 that every sexually active person over age 13 receive an HIV test. Four years later, health experts are reporting that very few physicians and patients are following these guidelines.
Donna Sweet, a physician in Kansas, told the Wichita Eagle that there are still many misconceptions surrounding the disease among doctors, and that this makes it difficult for them to communicate to their patients the importance of HIV testing. The 2006 guidelines appear to have made little impact, she said.
"That was four years ago. It is one of the most widely undone [tests] and disregarded guidelines in medicine," she told the news source. "Physicians still haven't given up the old 'I can tell by looking,' risk-based testing."
She added that it is impossible to diagnose early-stage infections visually, and that doctors who rely on this method may miss many individuals who have contracted the disease.
The CDC estimates that there are more than 1 million individuals in the U.S. who have HIV, and many of these individuals do not know they are infected.
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