Testing Teens For HIV

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Friday, November 4, 2011 - 10:07am

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending all teens 16 and up take an HIV test.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending all teens 16 and up take an HIV test.

"In areas where there are high levels of STDs, it's probably wise just to screen everyone from 16 to 18 once," says pediatrician Dr. Dan Kelly.

Dr. Kelly already urges teens to get tested for AIDS.

He says it can prevent infected teens from unknowingly spreading the disease, and it also sends a message to those who test negative.

"We actually get a test and a result and when it comes back negative they're relieved. They've had that message that it's serious business," he says.

Health officials estimate 20 percent of the one million people infected with AIDS in the United States are unaware of their status.

AIDS groups say early testing should become standard.

"The hope is that HIV testing will become more routine," says Courtney Mulhern-Pearson of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. "It will become part of a standard physician visit and that people will get tested more regularly."

Still, some parent's are worried the pediatric group's recommendation goes too far.

The pediatric group says many teens lie to their parents about their sexual activity and testing is one safe route in an awkward age.
 

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