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New report urges pediatricians to offer HIV testing to youths

Category: HIV

Given the fact that such a high number of new infections occur in young people, the American Academy of Pediatrics is calling for physicians to make HIV testing a more routine part of the medical care of sexually active adolescents and young adults.

The group wrote in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics that pediatricians have an underappreciated role to play in preventing the spread of HIV. Despite the fact that so many infections occur among young people, the doctors who treat these individuals rarely make HIV testing available. This represents a significant missed opportunity, the authors wrote.

Pediatricians should start by obtaining a sexual history from their patients, the report states. From there, physicians may be able to refer young people to sexual health counseling and make HIV testing available when appropriate.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 13 percent of all new HIV diagnoses occur in individuals between the ages of 13 and 24, making this one of the most affected age groups. Still, younger people rarely receive HIV testing.

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