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Public health officials call for more HIV testing

Category: HIV

Of the more than 1 million Americans who have HIV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 20 percent are unaware of their infection. To combat these numbers, the agency is spearheading a government effort to encourage greater numbers of individuals to seek HIV testing.

Officials recently recommended that HIV testing be made a part of the yearly healthcare of all adults. Rather than forcing them to specifically ask for the procedure, doctors would automatically test their patients unless they ask not to be tested.

"I think one problem that we've had is that people feel they need to be at risk,” Dr. Bernard Benson, an associate director of HIV/AIDS with the CDC, told NPR. “They have to have a special reason in order to get tested. And the CDC has been encouraging people to get tested as part of the routine as care.”

He added that working with community groups throughout the country has allowed them to reach out to at-risk groups and help them find a location that offers accessible HIV testing.

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