The University Medical Center of Southern Nevada widens HIV testing in Las Vegas
The University Medical Center of Southern Nevada widens HIV testing in Las Vegas

The University Medical Center (UMC) in Las Vegas has recently adopted broader testing for HIV.

On Dec. 1, which also marked the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the UMC adopted 12 year old guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that recommended testing for all Americans, not just those classified most at risk.

“We have the tools available right now to eliminate [AIDS],” Dr. Jerry Cade of UMC’s HIV program said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The CDC’s 2006 recommendation was not widely adopted. In Nevada, the number of new HIV cases has increased since 2012.

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Now UMC’s response to this will be to test just about every patient who receives treatment there.

Reports the Review-Journal:

UMC is adopting what is called “opt-out” testing guidelines. Patients who are getting blood drawn in the hospital’s adult ER will be automatically tested for HIV unless they request otherwise. The change, which falls in line with the CDC’s guidelines, should reduce the number of new cases in a state that had the sixth-highest diagnosis rate in 2016 nationwide.

The hospital announced the protocol change as part of an effort to help Southern Nevada reach the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS’s 2020 “90-90-90” target goal to get 90 percent of all HIV-positive people to know their status, 90 percent of diagnosed people on antiretroviral treatment and 90 percent of people on antiretrovirals to achieve undetectable viral load levels, so the disease doesn’t spread.

“That will be one more patient who knows they’re positive,” said Cade. “For that individual patient, it means they’re going to live a longer and healthier life.”

UMC hopes their work will encourage other Las Vegas Valley hospitals to follow suit, together lessening the number of new patients living with HIV/AIDS in Nevada.