Sex, HIV And Teens: Doctors Urge Sexually Active Teenagers to Get Tested

A new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics urges all sexually active teenagers to get tested for HIV.

The AAP also suggests that in high risk locations, all teens over the age of 16 should get tested.

The report says that HIV is often spread by people that don’t know they have it. Dr. Jaime Martinez of the University of Illinois in Chicago, said:

“Forty-eight percent of the youth who are infected don’t know they are infected… It’s important to realize that those who don’t know they are infected drive the epidemic.”

According to Reuters, more than 1.1 million Americans are infected with HIV. 55,000 of those people are between 13 and 24 years old. According to Martinez, more than 60% of adolescents are sexually active.

Today, most doctors only give an HIV test to people they deem at risk. Prostitutes, drug addicts, and homosexual men are often tested for HIV. But the American Academy of Pediatrics insists that wider testing is the key to prevention.

If HIV is found early, doctors can treat it and prevent it from becoming AIDS. Early detection can also prevent the spread of HIV.

While most agree that additional screening will prevent the spread of HIV, some are worried about taking the policy too far. Dr. Jason Haukoos at the Denver Health Medical Center, said that he is concerned about some of the details of the new plan. Who will pay for the screenings? Will there be doctor patient confidentiality when screening teens?

Haukoos said:

“There is reasonable evidence to support screening, but it is not clear what the best approach is. I think the policy statement is a reasonable statement, but I say that recognizing that they don’t take it far enough in terms of how this should be done.”

Do you think all sexual active teenagers should be screened for HIV.

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