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Test for Life Commends North Carolina Rules Commission for Implementing CDC Recommendations for HIV Testing
Date:11/8/2007

New rules allow expanded routine screening

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Test for Life commended the North Carolina Commission for Public Health and the North Carolina Rules Review Commission for updating the state laws to include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations to make HIV screening a part of routine medical care. Now in North Carolina, HIV testing will be offered through general consent and pre-test counseling is no longer required.

"I am thrilled that North Carolina has worked to modernize their existing HIV screening laws to incorporate the CDC recommendations. These changes to the counseling and consent requirements are an important step towards making HIV testing a part of routine medical care which will allow the state to identify HIV positive individuals and move them into care and treatment," said Dr. Gary Puckrein, President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1.2 million people in the United States are infected with HIV and that a quarter of them do not know it. The CDC also estimates that the majority, 50 to 70 percent, of new sexually transmitted HIV infections are caused by individuals who are unaware of their status.

In September 2006, CDC released revised recommendations for HIV screening. Specifically, CDC called for voluntary opt-out screening to be included as part of routine medical care for all persons aged 13 to 64. Routine screening is intended to lead to earlier diagnosis of HIV-infected individuals. Across the country people living with HIV are diagnosed too late in the course of their illness. Prompt diagnosis improves survival, helps people know their status and allows those living with HIV to begin proper care and treatment earlier in the course of the disease, when the treatment has a better chance of being effective.

For more information regarding the changes to the North Carolina rules, please go to the HIV/STD Prevention and Care Branch web site at http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/hiv/initiatives.html.

Test for Life began in 2006 as an educational campaign of the National Minority Quality Forum, designed to raise awareness of the importance of routine HIV screening in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. CDC's Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing are essential to improving early diagnosis of HIV and linking patients to early care and treatment of the disease. To learn more about Test for Life, please visit our Web site: http://www.testforlife.org.


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SOURCE Test for Life
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