An ongoing dialogue on HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases,
May 24th, 2009
Another State Gets Ready to Make HIV Testing Easier
Don’t look now, Massachusetts, but Connecticut could be next:
AN ACT CONCERNING REVISIONS TO THE HIV TESTING CONSENT LAW. This bill revises the law on consent for HIV-related testing. Specifically, the bill:
1. eliminates the requirement for separate, written or oral consent for HIV testing and instead allows general consent for the performance of medical procedures or tests to suffice;
2. clarifies that HIV testing is voluntary and that the patient can choose not to be tested;
3. eliminates the current requirement for extensive pre-test counseling for all HIV tests;
4. adds a requirement that an HIV test subject, when he or she receives a test result, be informed about medical services and local or community-based HIV/AIDS support services agencies; and
5. provides that a medical practitioner cannot be held liable for ordering an HIV test under general consent provisions.
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2009
Not surprisingly, it passed unanimously by the Public Health Committee of the state; it was also adopted by the House on May 7, and is currently awaiting action by the Senate.
I’ve made no secret about how I feel on this issue — most clinicians seem to feel the same — and that I disagree with Massachusetts’ current HIV testing law, which may be the toughest in the nation. We not only require written informed consent before testing, but the process of getting this changed is hamstrung by the fact that testing and protection of HIV confidentiality are written into the same law.
But I’m an optimist — if California, Maryland, Illinois, several others, and soon Connecticut can make it easier for people to find out their HIV status, so can we. Stay tuned.
Categories: Health Care, HIV, Patient Care, Policy
Tags: action, AIDS, aids support services, bill, clinicians, Connecticut, consent provisions, HIV, hiv confidentiality, hiv status, hiv test, HIV testing, hiv tests, public health committee, Senate
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Paul E. Sax, MD
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