What Is the Current HIV/AIDS Screening Recommendation?

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Well, latest screening recommendations are at least once annually, and every three to six months if you're sexually active. You have to understand that people, especially gay men and are meeting their sex partners through geosocial networks or apps, and not all the time do you know who these people are. And I tell my gay male patients that, if you're sexually active with people you don't know especially well, you should be tested at least routinely every three to six months, and that includes a full STD work up, so that syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and annually I recommend all of those but also especially with gay men with HIV and anal pap smear to test for HPV. There is a vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus, we don't talk about it much with relationship to gay men, it just got approved for boys, but it was indicated initially for women.

I think you have to look beyond what the recommendations are, and doctors are allowed to do that, they have that capacity. So if cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, and anal cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, why wouldn't you vaccinate? And I talk a lot about that with my patients.

So the standard of care is yes to get tested at least once annually for HIV, but I recommend strongly every three to six months, that's done with the test called the Elisa and the Western block, it tests for antibodies. It is a double confirmatory test so that when you get an HIV positive result you can be sure that above 99% it's the right answer.

Now there are false positive, but it's very minimal, and the [xx] quick, which is the rapid HIV test which uses saliva is still greater than 99% sensitive so that you're going to get an accurate result. So really for me, there is no reason now why anyone who choose not to get tested. It is that resistance that I don't want to know which really links to the spread of HIV when people don't know they have a disease, they are not getting treated and they're most likely the ones that are spreading it.

And I was speaking to a woman at a AIDS service organization and she was talking about there is a lot of stigma especially among African American women that they are just promiscuous and she said when you think about my zip code and where I live, and a high percentage of people with HIV, it's like a goldfish swimming in a small fish pond, the chances of sleeping with somebody who has an infectious disease is that much higher.

So I don't want to impress upon anybody with judgement or stigma, I wanted to say, knowledge, educate yourself, get tested, get link to carry and get treated.