WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – New guidelines were released by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force which assert that all clinical patients between the ages of 15 and 65 should be tested for HIV.

Additionally, the Task Force recommends that all teens and adults who are at risk, as well as pregnant women, should especially be tested for the virus known to cause AIDS.

“While the best way to reduce HIV-related disease and death is to avoid getting infected, screening is also extremely important,” Dr. Douglas K. Owens, a Task Force member, was quoted as saying by Medical News Today. “Nearly a quarter of people with HIV don’t know that they have it, and they’re missing out on a chance to take control of their disease.”

He added, “Universal screening will help identify more people with HIV, allowing them to start combined antiretroviral therapy earlier and live healthier and longer lives.”

The new guidelines are notably different from the old ones, which only suggested voluntary testing for at-risk members of the American populace and pregnant women.

They were reportedly created by the Task Force after researchers discovered the positive effects of early diagnosis and proper drug treatments on patients with the virus.

An estimated 25 percent of all people with HIV in America are not aware of their status.

“HIV is a critical public health problem and, despite recent medical advances, still a devastating diagnosis for the 50,000 people in the United States who contract HIV each year,” Task Force chair Dr. Virginia Moyer told Medical News Today. “In order to help reduce the suffering of those with HIV and their loved ones, we must continue finding better ways to prevent and treat this disease.”