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U.S. propsed manditiory testing
Sep 24, 2006

just wondering what your opinions are on the newly proposed manditory testing for hiv. being hiv+ i am finding it difficult to form an opinion on this matter. one though t is that knowing your status and treatment is the best defense north america has for battling hiv/aids. on the other hand i feel like it is a witch hunt. Here in my home town i feel ostrasized and shunned. i live in the tenth largest city in canada with a population of about 300,000 and I am very stigmatized by my condition. i very rarely disclose my status because of fear. 20 years in to this illness and we still battle stigma. wouldnt this lead to more stigma? please help

Response from Dr. Wohl

Whoa! Hold on. No one is talking maditory testing here in the US. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued new recommendations to expand the OFFERING of testing to persons 13-64 years of age who present for medical care. In addition, written informed consent for HIV testing and lengthly pre-test counseling have been removed as these - as well intended as they are - proved to be an obstacle to ordering HIV tests.

Testing remains voluntary. Patients are always to be informed that HIV testing is being ordered and people can say no.

The over all goal of the changes is to increase the number of persons with HIV infection but unaware of their status. According to the CDC, approximately, 1 in 4 persons with HIV in the US does not know they are infected. As always, it is important that people diagnosed HIV+ are protected from discrimination or other adverse reactions. My hope is that with more testing and knowledge of what HIV is about, there will be less stigma.

Mandatory testing is, however, practiced in the US military, Federal prison and in about 18 state prisons.

DW



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