Adolescents and HIV infection: the pediatrician's role in promoting routine testing

Pediatrics. 2011 Nov;128(5):1023-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-1761. Epub 2011 Oct 31.


Pediatricians can play a key role in preventing and controlling HIV infection by promoting risk-reduction counseling and offering routine HIV testing to adolescent and young adult patients. Most sexually active youth do not feel that they are at risk of contracting HIV and have never been tested. Obtaining a sexual history and creating an atmosphere that promotes nonjudgmental risk counseling is a key component of the adolescent visit. In light of increasing numbers of people with HIV/AIDS and missed opportunities for HIV testing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends universal and routine HIV testing for all patients seen in health care settings who are 13 to 64 years of age. There are advances in diagnostics and treatment that help support this recommendation. This policy statement reviews the epidemiologic data and recommends that routine screening be offered to all adolescents at least once by 16 to 18 years of age in health care settings when the prevalence of HIV in the patient population is more than 0.1%. In areas of lower community HIV prevalence, routine HIV testing is encouraged for all sexually active adolescents and those with other risk factors for HIV. This statement addresses many of the real and perceived barriers that pediatricians face in promoting routine HIV testing for their patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / methods*
  • Adolescent
  • Attitude to Health
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Pediatrics / methods*
  • Physician's Role
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • United States
  • Young Adult