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Policy & Politics

To Test More Floridians for HIV/AIDS, Lawmakers Aim to Cut Out Paperwork

March 25, 2014

This article was reported by WFSU.

WFSU reported that a bill introduced in the Florida legislature proposes to cut required paperwork for HIV testing, which advocates hope will spur more doctors to offer the test and encourage more people to get tested. Health experts say the amount of paperwork required for an HIV test is red tape that burdens doctors, laboratories, and patients.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Saunders (D-Orlando), aims to get more people tested so if they are HIV-positive, then they can begin treatment sooner and live longer, healthier lives, as well as prevent transmitting the disease to others. Florida has the second highest rate of new HIV infections in the United States. "As many of you may know, despite advances in treatment and public education, the rate of HIV infections in our state is on the rise," Saunders told the House Health Quality Subcommittee. When people find out their status, Saunders said, it can make a difference for future actions.

University of South Florida Physician Diane Straub thinks giving an HIV test to a patient should be as easy as getting them tested for chlamydia or gonorrhea. Patients often feel stigmatized by having to sign a separate privacy statement in front of another witness. "For me to do an HIV test on a young person, I have to do all this paperwork, the lab before they draw up the test has to do confirm that the paperwork's done. It's just a much bigger burden for testing," she said.

CDC has recommended universal HIV testing for everyone younger than 25 years of age. It also reclassified HIV tests as "high-priority," which allows more insurance policies to cover it. According to Michael Ruppal, executive director of the AIDS Institute, eliminating the extra paperwork is an additional step to get more people tested.

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
More HIV Prevention Policy News on Florida

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