Last fall, the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the health arm of the independent National Academy of Sciences, to study certain questions related to HIV testing policy and access to care. They organized a 15-member committee, the Committee on HIV Screening and Access to Care which consisted of subject matter experts that planned a series of workshops and are developing three reports. Today, the IOM released the first of these reports. HIV Screening and Access to Care: Exploring Barriers and Facilitators to Expanded HIV Testing is available at the IOM’s website at www.IOM.edu. This report was produced in response to ONAP’s charge to examine the extent to which Federal and State laws and policies and health insurance policies pose a barrier to expanded HIV testing. Forthcoming reports will examine: 1) the capacity of the health care system to administer a greater number of HIV tests and to accommodate new HIV diagnoses; and , 2)Federal and State policies that inhibit entry into clinical care or the provision of continuous and sustained clinical care for people with HIV/AIDS.
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, released by the Obama Administration in July of this year, calls for expanded HIV testing and screening to increase knowledge of HIV serostatus as a critical component of the nation’s response to HIV/AIDS. This report provides important and timely information for policymakers at all levels that are grappling with complex and challenging policy questions about how to effectively expand access to HIV testing and screening in a manner that is most effective at identifying people living with HIV who are unaware of their HIV status. We anticipate that this report will serve as a valuable resource as we work to support implementation of the Strategy.
I encourage you to read the IOM’s report and I would like to acknowledge and thank the important work of the staff of the IOM and the Committee on HIV Screening and Access to Care.
Jeffrey S. Crowley is the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy