ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Testing for the AIDS virus could become part of routine physical exams for adults and teens if doctors follow new U.S. guidelines expected to be issued by this summer.
Federal health officials say they would like HIV testing to be as common as a cholesterol check.
The guidelines for routine testing would apply to every American ages 13 to 64, according to the proposed plan by the U.S. Centers for Disease control and Prevention.
One-quarter of the 1 million Americans with the AIDS virus don't know they are infected, and that group is most responsible for HIV's spread, CDC officials said.
"We need to expand access to HIV testing dramatically by making it a routine part of medical care," said the agency's Dr. Kevin Fenton.
CDC officials presented the plans at a scientific conference in February. Last week, they said the guidelines should be released in June or July.
The recommendations are not legally binding, but they influence what doctors do and what health insurance programs cover.
Currently, the CDC recommends routine testing for those at high-risk for catching the virus, such as IV drug users and gay men, and for hospitals and certain other institutions serving areas where HIV is common. It also recommends testing for all pregnant women.
at May 10, 2006
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