CDC: Evidence Insufficient to Recommend Screening MSM for HIV More Than Once a Year — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 11, 2017

CDC: Evidence Insufficient to Recommend Screening MSM for HIV More Than Once a Year

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by André Sofair, MD, MPH

There's not enough evidence to change the CDC's 2006 recommendation for annual HIV screening of asymptomatic men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a report in MMWR.

To examine the benefits of screening MSM every 3 or 6 months, a CDC working group examined 13 studies comparing annual screening with more frequent testing in clinical settings. The group found that the quality of the studies was low, yielding insufficient evidence to warrant a change in screening frequency.

Next, the working group had a panel of outside experts — including clinicians, epidemiologists, and MSM — review the evidence. Most agreed that the data were lacking, although some felt more frequent screening might be beneficial in areas with prompt access to HIV care and early antiretroviral therapy.

The CDC concludes that while the recommendation hasn't changed, providers can consider more frequent screening for some asymptomatic MSM "based on their individual risk factors, local HIV epidemiology, and local policies."

Meanwhile, Dr. Carlos del Rio of NEJM Journal Watch Infectious Diseases commented: "Although this report does not support more frequent screening, the reality is that at-risk HIV-negative MSM should be on preexposure prophylaxis — and thus they will need to be screened for HIV every 3 months as per CDC guidelines."

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