(HealthDay News) – New recommendations propose HIV screening for all individuals aged 15–65 years, and for all pregnant women, according to a draft recommendation statement issued Nov. 20 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Noting that 20%–25% of the 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV infection do not know that they are HIV-positive, researchers from the USPSTF drafted a recommendation for HIV screening in the United States.

The Task Force recommends that all individuals aged 15–65 should be screened by clinicians for HIV infection. Screening is also encouraged for younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk. The Task Force further recommends that all pregnant women should be screened for HIV; this includes women in labor, if their HIV status is unknown.

“Because HIV infection usually does not cause symptoms in the early stages, people need to be screened to learn if they are infected,” Task Force member Douglas K. Owens, MD, said in a statement. “People who are feeling well and learn they are infected with HIV can begin treatment earlier, reduce their chances of developing AIDS, and live longer and healthier lives.”

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