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adolescent HIV

Oct 25, 2002

How can I find out my state's laws regarding the confidentiality (with regards to the parents) of adolescent HIV testing?

Response from Mr. Kull

Your best bet is to call your city or state's department of health. You can often obtain information about state law by carefully researching records made available to the public through the state's website. You can also take a look at The Alan Guttmacher Institute's table on the issue of minors' rights to consent to health care. Also read the text that accompanies that table--it's an important issue.

Currently, all 50 states and the District of Columbia allow minors to consent to STD testing and treatment; this may explicitly or implicitly include HIV. Three states require parent/guardian consent for minors to receive HIV treatment.

There are subtleties to state law. For instance, several states may allow doctors to notify the parents of the minor. Also, the definition of minor might be different, or there might be a minimum age requirement for minor consent.

The rights of minors to have access to HIV/STD testing and treatment, reproductive services, and other health care without parental consent is continually threatened by political movements. Supporting legislation that respects the constitutional rights of minors and allows them to consent to their own health care supports the health of American youth.


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