Although the National HIV Testing Day may have fallen on June 27th, it is still important that adults of all ages understand the benefit of HIV testing. HIV, also known by its longer name human immunodeficiency virus, affects roughly 1.1 million Americans, and nearly 15% of them don’t even know that they have contracted the disease. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend HIV testing for anyone ages 13 to 64. Those with an especially high risk, such as sexually active gay and bisexual men, are encouraged to receive testing every three to six months.

When coding these encounters, one of the most common codes used will be Z11.4 (Encounter for screening for human immunodeficiency virus), in which “screening” applies to patients who are not showing any symptoms of the disease. Should HIV be detected, the base ICD-10 code for the disease is a simple B20 (Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)). Keep in mind, however, that the diagnosis should also include additional information. These add-ons should be appended with the word “includes” and cover several additional diagnoses such as Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), AIDS-related complex (ARC), and HIV infection, symptomatic. If the patient is a pregnant woman, that it may be necessary to first code O98.7- (Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease complicating pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium, if applicable).

Other pertinent codes that are excluded in an official HIV diagnosis include Z21 (Asymptomatic human immunodeficiency virus infection status), Z20.6 (Exposure to HIV), and R75 (Inconclusive serologic evidence of HIV).

Even for those who are showing no symptoms, HIV testing is an important part of maintaining good health. As more awareness of HIV screenings spread, more people will likely present for testing, which in turn means a greater usage of these codes. As a result, all medical coders should make sure they review these codes and share them with their coworkers as applicable.