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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released "Revised Guidelines for HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral" and "U.S. Public Health Service Recommendations for HIV Screening of Pregnant Women," two draft documents for public comment.
The recommendations in "Revised guidelines for HIV Counseling, Testing and Referral" reflect the following findings:
•Â High-quality HIV prevention counseling models are effective in changing behaviors and reducing the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in HIV-infected persons at increased risk.
•Â HIV treatment has been found to be effective in slowing the progression of HIV infection and improving the health of many HIV-infected persons, as well as the quality and duration of their lives.
•Â Therapy has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of perinatal HIV transmission.
•Â New HIV testing technologies will simplify testing and allow for more availability of test results.
•Â New or updated guidelines on partner counseling and referral services, prevention case management, prevention and control of STDs, and prevention of opportunistic infections have been published.
"U.S. Public Health Service Recommendations for HIV Screening of Pregnant Women" has been updated to:
•Â Emphasize HIV testing as a routine part of prenatal care and strengthen the recommendation that all pregnant women be tested for HIV.
•Â Recommend a simplification of the testing process so that all previously required protest counseling is not a barrier to the provision of testing.
•Â Make the consent process more flexible to allow for various types of informed consent.
•Â Recommend that providers explore and address reasons for refusal of testing.
•Â Place more emphasis on HIV testing and treatment at the time of delivery for women who have not received prenatal testing and chemoprophylaxis.
Copies of the documents are posted on the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov/hiv. PR