Routine HIV Screening to be Covered Under Obamacare
Yesterday the US Preventive Services Task Force released new guidelines recommending that every American between the ages of 15 and 65 be regularly tested for HIV. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance coverage of all preventive services recommended by the task force, which means that regular HIV testing will now be covered under Obamacare as part of a routine check-up.
1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV - a number which the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention says has been increasing steadily over the last five years. Despite this prevalence, 20 to 25 percent of HIV-positive individuals are unaware they have the virus. There are about 48,000 new cases of HIV each year in the United States.
Previously, only 'high risk' individuals who had unprotected sex with multiple partners or used intravenous drugs were recommended for HIV testing. However, according to the Preventive Services Task Force, up to a quarter of HIV-positive patients report no risk factors. The new guidelines recommend the screening of every American between the ages of 15 and 65, regardless of 'risk.'
HIV screening is an important preventive measure for the purposes of both treatment and transmission prevention. A regular HIV screening that is as common as a cholesterol test will allow HIV-positive patients to start treatment early, while their immune systems are relatively strong, which will increase their life spans. Evidence also indicates that treatment can reduce the chance of transmitting the virus to an uninfected partner by up to 96 percent.
"This marks a monumental shift in how HIV in the United States can be prevented, diagnosed and treated," said Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of The AIDS Institute.
Thinkprogress points out that Obamacare also increased resources for HIV research and prevention, helps ensure the affordability of HIV treatment, and prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against Americans based on their HIV status.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .