Letters to the Editor


Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jun 15;71(12):2254.

Advise Sexually Active Patients to Consider HIV Testing

to the editor: “In the absence of a cure for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, prevention is the most effective strategy for reducing the number of new cases.”1 This sentence from the 2004 American Family Physician article “HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral” by Dr. Gallant was just as true in 1987.2 I’m delighted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its recommendations to reduce barriers to testing.3 As a disease with a long asymptomatic stage during which an infected person may unknowingly spread the infection to others, and with a test that is highly sensitive and specific, HIV is a classic condition for early detection. Routine screening should be the norm.

The price of occasional anxiety over a false-positive test result is small compared with the millions who have died because we have been so slow to institute widespread testing. Physicians should advise their patients to raise the topic of HIV infection in conversation with a prospective sexual partner and suggest that both be tested before they have intercourse.


1. Gallant JE. HIV counseling, testing, and referral. Am Fam Physician. 2004;70:295–302.307–8.

2. Dykers JR Jr. AIDS: discrimination and justice. N C Med J. 1987;48:661–3.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Revised guidelines for HIV counseling, testing, and referral. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2001;50(RR–19):1–57.

Send letters to afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.



Copyright © 2005 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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