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HIV testing should be routine, CDC says

By JACOB GOLDSTEIN jgoldstein@MiamiHerald.com

The federal government recommended today that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for the virus that causes AIDS.

Officials hope making testing part of routine medical care will help find more of the estimated 250,000 people who have HIV but don't know it, and to slow the spread of the disease, which continues to infect 40,000 people each year.

Earlier guidelines had recommended testing for those who known to have risk factors, such as intravenous drug use or a high number of sexual partners.

''Screening that is universal and not tied to risk behavior will help reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing,'' said Dr. Timothy Mastro, acting director of HIV/AIDS prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which issued the guidelines.

Officials from community-based AIDS organizations supported the move to increase testing but called for more support for those who test positive.

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