FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2013
Media contact: Ryan Singleton
AFC Applauds Recommendation
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a landmark recommendation on April 29, strongly supporting routine HIV testing for all individuals ages 15 through 65. Because federal law requires health insurance plans to cover preventative measures highly recommended by USPSTF, most public and private insurance carriers will begin to offer routine HIV testing to beneficiaries as early as next year, without copayments.
Previously, USPSTF recommended that only people at risk of contracting HIV test regularly.
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) applauds this new recommendation, which will dramatically reduce the financial barrier to regular HIV testing services for insured Americans.
With this decision, a large portion of the country will have access to free, routine HIV tests, said David Ernesto Munar, President/CEO of AFC. This is a gigantic step forward because testing is one of our greatest tools for linking people with HIV to appropriate medical care and other essential services that reduce risk for the individual and community. And routine testing benefits sexually active HIV-negative individuals as well who should regularly monitor their health.
In Illinois, we estimate that one in five people living with HIV/AIDS are unaware they have the virus, often because HIV can lie dormant for up to a decade, said John Peller, Vice President of Policy at AFC. Thats about 8,500 people. Connecting them with life-saving HIV medications will afford them the opportunity to live longer, more productive lives. It will also keep our communities healthier because people being treated for HIV have a significantly lower risk of transmitting the virus.
AFC is available to discuss with the media USPSTFs recommendation and its implications for Chicagos AIDS community.
Founded in 1985 by community activists and physicians, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is a catalyst for local, national, and international action against HIV/AIDS.