A strikingly low percentage of primary care physicians (PCPs) are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to routinely screen patients for HIV. The CDC analyzed data from DocStyles 2013, a national web survey of clinicians, in order to determine the proportion of PCPs who conduct routine HIV screening. Included in the analysis were responses from PCPs who have seen 10 or more patients each week for at least three years.

Twenty-one percent of the clinicians reported routinely screening patients who had never received an HIV test. The physicians were less likely to do so if: they had been in practice for two decades or more, when compared with those in practice for less than nine years; or if they were unaware of their patient population’s HIV infection rate or thought the rate was low or moderate, when compared with those who believed the infection rate was high.

Sixty-five percent of the clinicians reported conducting routine screenings for men who have sex with men (MSM), no matter the length of the physicians’ career in medicine or their perception of their patient population’s HIV rate. Eighty-five percent of those who reported routinely screening patients for HIV offered repeat HIV tests to MSM.

To read the CDC release, click here.

To see a CDC HIV testing fact sheet, click here.

To read the CDC HIV testing recommendations, click here.