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    Peer Reviewed

    WHO and UNAIDS set controversial course for HIV testing.

    Bass E

    Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2006 Dec; 6(12):760.

    It has been 21 years since the test that detects antibodies to HIV was developed, and in the ensuing decades, many millions of people have learned that they are infected with the virus that causes AIDS. But many, many more have not. Today, with almost 40 million HIV-infected people worldwide, UNAIDS estimates that globally, fewer than one in every ten people with HIV in developing countries knows their status. Those who do not miss out on treatment services, which are slowly expanding in even the poorest countries. In November, WHO/UNAIDS issued a draft of operational recommendations for an approach to HIV testing that is designed to redress this yawning gap. The approach is known as provider-initiated testing and counselling (PITC), and it suggests that health-care workers in countries with generalised epidemics, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa should encourage their patients in wards and clinics of all stripes to be tested for HIV even if they do not present with symptoms. The current standard for delivering HIV tests is client-initiated, meaning that individuals who wish to learn their status ask for the test. (excerpt)
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