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Medical News & Perspectives
September 10, 2003

As AIDS Cases Increase, Health Experts Warn Against Missed Prevention Opportunities

JAMA. 2003;290(10):1304-1306. doi:10.1001/jama.290.10.1304

Atlanta—For Mark Thrun, MD, and his colleagues at the Denver Public Health Department's infectious disease clinic, the wake-up call came about three years ago. They realized that several of their male patients with HIV infection also were being treated for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in a separate STD clinic five floors away.

"We weren't aware of the fact that they were coming in with STDs," Thrun told an audience at the 2003 National HIV Prevention Conference here in late July. The missed communication between physicians and patients led Thrun and his colleagues to question what else was being missed in the care of HIV-infected patients. The answer: HIV prevention counseling in which physicians ask patients about specific behaviors that increase their risk of transmitting HIV or being reinfected with a different strain of the virus .