August 3rd, 2010

HIV Testing: NY Makes Progress; Massachusetts … Not So Much

ZIMMER-MARTINEZFrom the office of New York Governor David Paterson:

The Governor signed into law S.8227/A.11487, which will allow patients to agree to HIV testing as part of a general signed consent to medical care that remains in effect until it is revoked or expires.

The bill will also, among other things:  allow oral consent to an HIV test for a “rapid HIV test,” … permit anonymous testing of the blood of a person who is deceased, comatose or otherwise lacks the ability to consent, if someone such as a health care worker is exposed to the person’s blood and no one with the authority to consent to testing can be found in time for the exposed worker to begin medical treatment for HIV.

New York is particularly important for HIV policy in the United States, as it is home to the largest number of people living with AIDS of any state — only California is close.

I particularly like the provision that HIV testing can be done for occupational exposures when the source of the exposure is unable to provide consent.  These exposures are a worker safety issue, and the rights of the provider are arguably just as important as the rights of the patient.

As for my home state? 

Well the latest HIV testing bill, opined on here, and which looked so promising, just died in the Massachusetts Legislature.  Interesting additional coverage of the controversy here on The Huffington Post.

Some debate about casinos got in the way, I guess.

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HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

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