Canada should adopt routine HIV testing

November 26, 2012

Offering routine HIV testing to the general population rather than only to high-risk individuals will significantly reduce illness and death, argues Dr. Julio Montaner and coauthors in an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"A proactively deployed 'seek and treat' strategy will dramatically reduce AIDS-related morbidity and death, as well as , and as such provide the road map for an AIDS-free generation," writes Dr. Montaner, Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, BC.

Highly (HAART), in use since 1996, has greatly extended the lifespan of people living with HIV, making the disease a manageable chronic condition. HAART has been shown to be effective in preventing transmission of the virus. However, in Canada more than 50% of people with HIV receive the diagnosis after immunodeficiency is established, making treatment less effective and increasing the likelihood of HIV transmission.

It is estimated that at least 25% of people with HIV are unaware that they are infected.

The United States recommends routine screening of all patients in health care environments between 13 and 64 years of age. France recommends screening of the entire population aged 15 to 70 years and targeted screening of at-risk groups.

"It is now evident that HIV testing, based only on perceived risk, misses multiple opportunities for earlier diagnosis," writes coauthor Dr. Réka Gustafson, Medical Health Officer and Medical Director, Communicable Disease Control, Vancouver Coastal Health. "Routine HIV testing, on the other hand, has been shown to be acceptable and highly cost-effective. It is therefore imperative to implement and evaluate routine HIV testing across Canada."

Explore further: Abolish the criminalization of HIV

More information: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.121810

Related Stories

Abolish the criminalization of HIV

December 19, 2011
Routine criminal prosecutions for not disclosing HIV status should be abolished, write three HIV/AIDS experts in an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Roll out treatment as prevention now to stop HIV and AIDS

July 14, 2011
The Lancet, a leading global medical journal, published an editorial comment today that emphasizes the critical role of expanding access to HIV treatment under a "Treatment as Prevention" strategy to stop the HIV pandemic.

Recommended for you

Paris spotlight on latest in AIDS science

July 21, 2017
Some 6,000 HIV experts gather in Paris from Sunday to report advances in AIDS science as fading hopes of finding a cure push research into new fields.

Scientists elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV in calves

July 20, 2017
Scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health have achieved a significant step forward, eliciting broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) to HIV by immunizing calves. The findings offer insights for HIV vaccine ...

Heart toxin reveals new insights into HIV-1 integration in T cell genome

July 20, 2017
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 may have evolved to integrate its genetic material into certain immune-cell-activating genes in humans, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Scientists capture first high-resolution image of key HIV protein transitional state

July 13, 2017
A new, three-dimensional snapshot of HIV demonstrates the radical structural transformations that enable the virus to recognize and infect host cells, according to a new study led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute ...

Barrier to autoimmune disease may open door to HIV, study suggests

July 11, 2017
Researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine have discovered that a process that protects the body from autoimmune disease also prevents the immune system from generating antibodies that can neutralize the ...

Team tests best delivery mode for potential HIV vaccine

June 20, 2017
For decades, HIV has successfully evaded all efforts to create an effective vaccine but researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LJI) are steadily inching ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.