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Underage Testing
Nov 26, 2001

Does an underage person need parental consent for testing? What is legal age for testing? Will the results be confidential or reported and to whom?

Response from Mr. Kull

Laws regarding minors, and specifically their rights to consent to health care, can vary from state to state. It is important to research the guidelines in your particular state. See the Alan Guttmacher Institute's table on "Minor's Right to Consent to Health Care and Make Other Important Decisions" (http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/ib_minors/minors_table.html).

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. Check with your state.

The rights of minors to have access to HIV/STD testing and treatment, reproductive serivces, 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.

RMK



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