Medicare officials are considering expanding coverage to include tests for sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and hepatitis B, Reuters is reporting. Tests for HIV are already covered under the federally sponsored program.
The move comes as part of the government's push to cover more preventative care and at a time when Americans are living longer and (thanks in part to drugs that enhance male virility) remaining sexually active longer. Experts contend that early screening saves money by avoiding costly complications arising from delayed treatment. Furthermore, early testing may limit the spread of STDs.
The tests would be aimed at those considered high risk for contracting an STD. Medicare officials plan to announce their decision by Aug. 24.