The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. health care reform, will now officially cover preventative health services for women, including contraceptives and HIV testing, without charging co-payments, co-insurance or a deductible, according to a statement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Acting on a report issued by The Institute of Medicine, a nonpartisan, nongovernmental branch of the National Academy of Sciences, HHS has built in coverage for sexually transmitted infection counseling, HIV screening and counseling, contraceptives, domestic violence screening, human papillomavirus (HPV) testing and other preventative health issues. The services will be offered at no cost through insurance plans beginning or after August 1, 2012. Religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees will be exempt.

To read the HHS statement, click here.