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Pregnant women who are unaware that they have HIV miss the chance for drug treatment that can benefit not only their own health, but could also prevent them from transmitting the virus to their infants. When HIV is not diagnosed until women go into labor, their infants are usually treated soon after birth with the anti HIV drug zidovudine (ZDV), to prevent the infants from becoming infected with the virus.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced its final decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including women who are pregnant and Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced its final decision to cover Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including women who are pregnant and Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service.  The decision is effective immediately.

Under the recently passed Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), CMS now has the flexibility of adding to Medicare’s list of covered preventive services, if certain requirements are met.  Prior to this law, Medicare could only cover additional preventive screening tests when Congress authorized it to do so.     

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