Pharmaceutical International News - June 2012
CDC Pharmacy HIV Testing Programme Launches
Posted by Paul Fiddian - Pharmaceutical International's Lead Reporter on 27/06/2012 - 08:50:00
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a pharmacy-based HIV testing programme in the United States, which could provide a quicker pathway to treatment for those patients that need it.
The programme's goal is to implement HIV testing and related counselling services into the framework of testing and guidance services already provided by pharmacies in the US. As a result, it's conceivable that, before too long, HIV testing becomes as straightforward a process as blood pressure testing and as universally adopted.
Initially, just 24 pharmacies are involved. But this is a pilot programme and, if it's successful, the CDC will look to expand it across the entire US.
Pharmacy HIV Testing
"We know that getting people tested, diagnosed and linked to care are critical steps in reducing new HIV infections", the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention's Director, Kevin Fenton, explained in a CDC press release on the pharmacy HIV testing. He added: "By bringing HIV testing into pharmacies, we believe we can reach more people by making testing more accessible and also reduce the stigma associated with HIV."
Figures released by the CDC puts the number of HIV-infected US residents at some one million, with something like 20 per cent of these living without knowledge of what they've got. Approximately 30 per cent of HIV diagnoses are made so late in the day that the development of full-blown AIDs, within the next 12 months, is highly probable. It's for that reason alone that the introduction of a standardised HIV testing programme is so important since, after a swift diagnosis, a wide range of treatments can then be considered.
US CDC HIV Programme
The 24 pharmacies now involved in the CDC's HIV testing programme are split equally between city and country-sited stores. The CDC's role in the programme involves supplying these pharmacies' staff members with training on HIV testing and counselling procedures.
"Our goal is to make HIV testing as routine as a blood pressure check," CDC's Jonathan Mermin added. "This initiative is one example of how we can make testing routine and help identify the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are unaware that they are infected."
Image copyright US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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