Navigation Links
HIV Tests Cost-Effective for Some Seniors

Doing so could extend lives of those infected with AIDS virus, study says

WEDNESDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- While older adults may seem the least likely group of Americans to become infected with HIV, a new study suggests it would be cost-effective for doctors to routinely give AIDS tests to some sexually active people in their 60s and 70s.

In fact, an HIV diagnosis and subsequent treatment could potentially add an average of six to nine months to an older person's life, said study co-author Dr. Douglas K. Owens.

"Just because you have someone who's older doesn't mean you shouldn't think about HIV and HIV screening," said Owens, a senior investigator at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California and professor of medicine at Stanford University.

Older Americans have been largely overlooked throughout the years of the AIDS epidemic, although they are hardly immune. The federal government only recommends routine HIV testing up until the age of 64.

Still, an estimated 20 percent of HIV patients are older than 50, Owens said. And research with older veterans has suggested that as many as one in 200 is infected with the virus that causes AIDS, he said.

The AIDS threat facing older Americans is often ignored, because "people find it difficult to imagine their parents and grandparents being sexually active," said Rowena Johnston, vice president of research with the Foundation for AIDS Research.

For the new study, published in the June 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, Owens and his colleagues created a mathematical formula to determine the costs and benefits of routinely testing people aged 55 to 75.

The researchers found that it's cost-effective to test people in that age group if the prevalence of undiagnosed HIV infection is greater than 1 in 1,000 and those being tested have sexual partners at risk of infection.

They reported it may cost $30,000 in tests to lengthen a sexually active 65-year-old person's life by something known as a "quality-adjusted life year," a complicated measurement that takes into account the difficulty of life during illness. On average, diagnosing a 65-year-old with HIV instead of allowing him to remain untreated could lengthen his life by six to nine months, Owens said.

"That's actually a lot. That's a pretty big change," he said. "Many of the interventions we do change life expectancy by a week, a few weeks, maybe a month."

AIDS tests typically cost from $10 to $70, Owens said.

Johnston said doctors with older patients "should to be aware they may be carrying their own biases. It's worth taking into account the person's sexual history and whether they have risk factors."

Still, some observers may question the study's assumption that more than one in 1,000 older adults have HIV and are undiagnosed, said Frank Myers, director of clinical epidemiology and safety systems at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.

"This study, with its assumptions of HIV prevalence, will not be enough to change HIV screening recommendations by itself," Myers said. But, he added, he hopes the research will motivate health-care providers to ask patients about HIV risk factors and target them with messages about prevention.

More information

For more about older adults and AIDS, visit the Foundation for AIDS Research.

SOURCES: Douglas K. Owens, M.D., senior investigator, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and professor of medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.; Rowena Johnston, Ph.D., vice president of research, Foundation for AIDS Research, New York City; Frank Myers, M.A., CIC, CPHQ, director of clinical epidemiology and safety systems, Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego; June 17, 2008, Annals of Internal Medicine

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Experts propose cholesterol tests at 15 months of age
2. Fecal Blood Tests Effective at Spotting Colon Cancer
3. Drug Industry Seeks Tests to Spot Side Effect Risks
4. Noninvasive tests for cirrhosis may help to avoid liver biopsy
5. K-State Veterinary Lab Routinely Tests For Bluetongue Virus; Lab Director Says Strains Found in Kansas, U.S. Usually Less-Virulent
6. Gene Tests Match Up Lung Tumors, Best Treatment
7. Mayo Clinic tests novel vaccine for aggressive brain tumors
8. Cepheid and Broadlane Sign Group Purchasing Contract for GeneXpert(R) Systems and Xpert(TM) Molecular Diagnostic Tests, Including Xpert MRSA
9. Bone Density Tests Do Predict Womens Fracture Risk
10. Mini stress tests could help condition heart to survive major attack
11. Lab on a chip developed at University of Alberta for cheap, portable medical tests
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... Altec Products, Inc., the leader in ... Dynamics AXUG, GPUG and NAVUG Summits to take place the week of October ... user conferences designed and led by users to provide attendees with a unique ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... , ... Symposium Chairman, Dr. Rod J. Rohrich is pleased to announce that ... March 2nd and 3rd, 2016. The annual meeting, along with the Dallas Rhinoplasty ... around the world. , Key topics at this year's event will include discussions on ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... IBM software products, introduced a new company, RightSensor™ LLC, an Internet of Things ... capability. RightSensor™ provides a fully-managed approach for customers requiring sensor hardware for ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 2015 , ... In an age where the cost of energy is rising, ... foot than in 2009. The Williamsport Regional Medical Center (WRMC) campus has grown 50 ... eight percent. , According to Facilities Management Administrative Director Dieter Reichmann, this is ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... Relay (, a technology ... today a significant contract that will provide its award-winning private messaging solution to ... the growing success of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, which now has over ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... 2015  Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: AST), ... Therapy Catapult to advance development of large scale ... immunotherapy. Under the agreement, the Cell Therapy Catapult ... to support advanced clinical trials and eventual commercialization ... --> The Cell Therapy Catapult is a ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... -- Former White House Spokesman, and Drug Czar Public Affair Director, ... Robert Weiner , and Policy Analyst Daniel Sordello ... this is now a potential bipartisan campaign and debate issue ... Carly Fiorina to Rand Paul and ... they call "a shocker: 23 million need but do not ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... Ga. , Oct. 12, 2015  MiMedx Group, ... company utilizing human amniotic tissue and patent-protected processes to ... Wound Care, Surgical, Orthopedic, Spine, Sports Medicine, Ophthalmic, and ... revenue results for the third quarter of 2015, its ... the Company has secured a $50 million Senior Secured ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: