17
Aug
09

Veterans to routinely be offered HIV tests

WASHINGTON — The Veterans Affairs Department on Monday begins offering routine HIV tests to veterans who receive medical care.

Under the new policy, veterans must verbally consent to the test. They can also decline it.

Previously, veterans had to sign a consent form. The new policy follows recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says all patients should be offered HIV testing even if they are not considered at risk.

The hope is that by dropping the written consent, more veterans will get tested and get medical treatment earlier.

About 22,000 veterans with HIV get care at VA facilities.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, which is a disease that weakens the immune system.

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