By Julie Scofield, Executive Director, NASTAD
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day and as I reflect on the past year, I realize that collectively, many developments over the past year are very important in our fight to eradicate HIV here at home and abroad. At AIDS 2012, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said “We have a historic opportunity — with science on our side — to make the achievement of an AIDS-free generation a reality,” and he is right. We are in the midst of implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will increase access to and quality of care for people living with HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis and the first over-the-counter HIV test were both approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Just last week the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a draft recommendation in strong support of routine HIV testing for all adolescents and adults ages 15 through 65, pregnant women, and others at increased risk for HIV younger than 15 and older than 65 by assigning it a Grade “A”. This is a monumental shift in the USPSTF’s previous recommendation of testing only for people who are “at risk” for HIV and pregnant women. Under the ACA, this recommendation will require that HIV tests for all be reimbursed by private insurers.