News: ACOG recommends routine HIV screening for most women

September 1, 2008

Ob/gyns should screen all patients from age 19 to 64 for HIV.

Obstetrician/gynecologists are well-placed to incorporate routine screening for HIV into their routine gynecologic health checks, and should screen all their patients from age 19 to 64, according to a statement from the Committee on Gynecologic Practice of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Given that an estimated one-quarter of HIV-positive people in the United States are unaware of their HIV status, routine screening can help to identify more cases, and an HIV test for women aged 19 to 64 is most easily incorporated into routine gynecologic care, the committee states.

It recommends opt-out screening, whereby women are offered an HIV test with the option of declining to consent if they wish. Declining testing should not restrict access to care, the committee writes. Rapid HIV tests can make HIV testing as part of routine gynecologic care more convenient, and retesting should be recommended to high-risk women and those with new sexual partners.

ACOG Committee Opinion Number 411, August 2008. Routine Human Immunodeficiency Virus Screening. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;112(2Pt1):401-403.