Opinion Brief

Should all teenagers be tested for HIV?

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that all 16-year-olds in high-risk areas get tested — even if they're not sexually active

As of 2006, 5 percent of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. were between the ages of 13 and 24. To help slow the spread of HIV among young Americans, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for mandatory HIV screenings for all teens aged 16 to 18 who live in an area where more than 0.1 percent of the population is infected. Previously, the AAP only recommended that sexually active teens get tested. Do the new guidelines make sense — or are they going too far?

This is a no-brainer: "I'm going to have to come down firmly on the side of it being a good idea," says Sierra at Babble. Indeed, I'm surprised we weren't already doing something like this. Every sexually active person should be routinely tested for HIV, regardless of age or relationship status. "People cheat, people have past mistakes — it's just a good idea to make STI [Sexually Transmitted Infection] testing part of your annual physical. No matter how old you are."
"Should teens be test for HIV?"

And it hardly opens the flood gates: These guidelines are conservative compared to the CDC's, Dr. Jaime Martinez, who co-wrote the AAP report, tells Reuters. In 2006, the CDC recommended that all teens over the age of 13 be tested if they live in high-risk communities. We increased that to 16 since some pediatricians might not be comfortable testing young teens. But "it's important to realize that those who don't know they are infected drive the epidemic." We've got to start testing teens.
"Group calls for HIV screening of teens who have sex"

These guidelines raise more questions than they answer: "There is reasonable evidence to support screening, but it is not clear what the best approach is," Dr. Jason Haukoos, a critic of the new guidelines, tells HealBlog.net. Who is going to pay for all these screenings? Is this approach even cost-effective? Would parents need to give consent for their children to be tested? Would results be disclosed to parents? "The policy statement is a reasonable statement, but... they don't take it far enough in terms of how this should be done."
"Groups push for HIV screening among sexually active teens"

Recommended

6 charming homes in Queens, New York
House
Feature

6 charming homes in Queens, New York

The Check-In: Yosemite drops reservations, and more
Christmas travel.
Feature

The Check-In: Yosemite drops reservations, and more

The Week contest: Lustful ghost
Shadow of a man with his hand pressed against glass.
Feature

The Week contest: Lustful ghost

The best new Christmas-themed books for your holiday reading
A book.
Briefing

The best new Christmas-themed books for your holiday reading

Most Popular

World's 1st hydrogen-powered jet engine could mark turning point for aviation industry
A Rolls-Royce engine seen during an airshow.
Flying High

World's 1st hydrogen-powered jet engine could mark turning point for aviation industry

Sanctions apparently hurting Russia's economy, Ukraine war effort
Vladimir Putin
New Pain no gain

Sanctions apparently hurting Russia's economy, Ukraine war effort

China's Xi has few good options amid protests of 'zero COVID' policy
Anti-zero COVID protest in Beijing
China's COVID protests

China's Xi has few good options amid protests of 'zero COVID' policy