The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced December 8 that Medicare recipients would now be covered for HIV tests.

CMS was able to add HIV testing to Medicare’s list of covered preventive services under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008.

Effective immediately, Medicare will cover HIV testing for Medicare beneficiaries at increased risk for infection, including pregnant women. However, any Medicare participant of any age who voluntarily asks for a test will also be covered.

“Every adult should know their HIV status,” said Howard Koh, MD, assistant secretary of health at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. “This decision by Medicare should help promote screening and save lives.”

Medicare is a nationwide government health insurance program primarily for people 65 or older.