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HIV Screening for Older Adults and Others with Medicare
National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day

HIV Screening for Older Adults and Others with Medicare

September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, an annual campaign that draws attention to older Americans aging with HIV/AIDS.  Older adults are often overlooked in the ongoing HIV/AIDS conversation, yet the number of people aged 50 and older who are living with AIDS continues to grow. HIV-related challenges facing older Americans include lack of knowledge about HIV and stigma that discourages them from seeking HIV testing and care. In older adults, HIV is too often diagnosed late in the course of the infection.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for HIV infection in adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years. Younger adolescents and older adults who are at increased risk should also be screened, as well as all pregnant women. Medicare provides coverage of both standard and Food and Drug Administration approved rapid HIV screening tests for eligible beneficiaries:

  • Once annually for beneficiaries at increased risk for HIV infection, (11 full months must elapse following the month the previous test was performed in order for the subsequent test to be covered),
  • A maximum of three times for pregnant Medicare beneficiaries, per pregnancy beginning with the date of the first test when ordered by the woman’s clinician, at the following times:
    • First, when the woman is diagnosed with the pregnancy;
    • Second, during the third trimester;
    • Third, at labor, if ordered by the woman’s clinician.

Beneficiaries with any known prior diagnosis of HIV-related illness are not eligible for this screening test. Medicare provides coverage for HIV screening as a Medicare Part B benefit. The beneficiary may receive this screening service with no out-of-pocket cost to them. The coinsurance, copayment, and Part B deductible are waived for this benefit.

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