Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On World Aids Day, Planned Parenthood Health Centers Is Poised to Play Key Role in Delivering New HIV Coverage to Americans

Dec. 1 is World Aids Day. There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and every 10 minutes someone is diagnosed with HIV.

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions more people will be eligible for health insurance and HIV care. Currently, insurers will be required to fully cover annual counseling and screening for HIV infection for all sexually active women, as well as HIV screening for adolescents and adults age 13-64 who are at higher risk for contracting HIV. In November, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommended that all Americans ages 15-65 receive routine HIV testing, not just those most at risk. If finalized, this would mean insurers would have to cover HIV screening without a co-pay.

“The Affordable Care Act provides unprecedented opportunities for Americans to work together in changing the course of this epidemic,” said Amy Dickson, vice president of clinical operations for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “With new investments in sex education and the evolution of health technology as a means to educate and communicate with more people than ever before, we have new tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”

Reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood health centers will play a large role in translating these new requirements into expanded access to health care for people across the country. Planned Parenthood is among the nation’s leading providers of HIV screening in the U.S. In fact, one in three women who receive an HIV test is tested at a women’s health center like Planned Parenthood. In 2011, Planned Parenthood affiliates conducted 680,000 HIV tests, a 16 percent increase from 2010.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is working to reduce the high rates of sexually transmitted infections through education and screenings, in an effort to create the healthiest generation ever. PPRM health centers provide quality, nonjudgmental care to women, men, and young people, regardless of their ability to pay. Last year, we saw 121,400 patients and provided 15,000 HIV screenings.

On World AIDS Day and every day, there is much to be done. Talk to your friends and family about this global problem, ensure your loved ones get the information and care they need and deserve, and let your legislators know that you support investments in family planning. To make an appointment for HIV testing, visit www.pprm.org.

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