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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2000 Dec 15;25 Suppl 2:S128-35.

Voluntary counseling, testing, and referral for HIV: new technologies, research findings create dynamic opportunities.

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Progressive Health Partners, Inc., Washington, DC 20011, USA.


Programs for voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) for HIV play an increasingly important role in comprehensive prevention and care strategies. New technological advancements and behavioral interventions can improve the effectiveness of VCT as a tool for preventing new HIV infections and helping HIV-positive individuals access appropriate care. With growing consensus that early access to HIV therapy increases its effectiveness, and that individuals diagnosed with HIV reduce risk behavior, VCT has become integral to the continuum of HIV primary care. However, federal funding of VCT has declined, with concomitant decreases in numbers of people being tested. An estimated 200,000 people in the United States remain unaware that they are HIV positive, and many at-risk individuals do not seek out standard HIV counseling and testing services. To increase the acceptability and effectiveness of VCT, the authors recommend that VCT programs employ outreach programs offering anonymous testing to reach those at heightened risk of HIV infection, and to make rapid use of new technologies and counseling strategies to improve the reach and efficacy. Given the important role that VCT can play in both prevention and early treatment, the authors recommend significant increases in federal support.

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