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Healthcare providers miss many opportunities to offer HIV testing

Category: HIV

Despite an increase in HIV testing, a new study has found that the percentage of patients being screened for the disease is still far lower than the levels called for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency has called for all individuals between the ages of 13 and 64 to be tested at least once in their lives. However, researchers from Case Western University found that healthcare providers often miss opportunities to provide testing, according to Medscape Today.

After evaluating medical records from nearly 400,000 medical encounters in the Ohio area between January of 2008 and December of 2009, researchers found that healthcare providers missed 64 percent of testing opportunities.

"Given the magnitude of how often patients are coming into the system and not getting tested and the lack of change through education alone, we really need to be looking at system-wide prompts, such as an electronic 'smart prompt' in the health system to improve routine physician-initiated HIV testing," said Ann Avery, who led the investigation.

The CDC has said that HIV testing is the most effective way to stop the spread of the disease.

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