ATLANTA, AUG. 13 -- Federal health officials today recommended routine voluntary AIDS testing for the sex partners of AIDS virus carriers, people with other sexually transmitted diseases and intravenous drug abusers, among other groups.

The U.S. Public Health Service's official AIDS testing recommendations, issued after months of public debate, stressed that individuals have the right to refuse the tests.

The PHS recommended that, while "individuals have the right to decline," health professionals begin "routine {AIDS} counseling and testing" for:

Patients with sexually transmitted diseases.

Intravenous drug abusers.

Women of child-bearing age at risk of AIDS infection, chiefly through drug abuse or sexual contact.

Patients with tuberculosis, which can be compounded by an AIDS infection.

Sex- or needle-sharing partners of infected people.

The federal Centers for Disease Control said the goal of testing is "to reduce further spread of infection," with priority on "persons who are most likely to be infected or who practice high-risk behaviors." AIDS, reported most often among homosexual men and intravenous drug abusers, is transmitted through semen and blood.

The PHS also recommended testing for anyone who believes he or she is at risk, and testing of prostitutes by local and state jurisdictions.

Further, the CDC called on prison systems to study means of testing their inmates and for state and local officials to consider routine, or even mandatory, AIDS tests for engaged couples, taking into account "the prevalence of HIV {AIDS virus} infection in the area."