Washington: Call for Wider HIV Testing Gets Mixed Reception in Region: Critics Fear Government Intrusion Into Privacy
September 27, 2006
In Washington's Inland Northwest, health experts, AIDS advocates and residents mostly praised CDC's revised HIV testing recommendations. Released Sept. 21, the recommendations urge that HIV testing be routinely offered to any person ages 13-64 in clinical settings.
"This is a kind of movement in public health in general," said Dr. Kim Thorburn, medical officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. "What they're really getting at is no special consent is required."
Many favoring the plan hope it will reduce HIV testing stigma and anxiety. However, others expressed concerns about the potential for government intrusion and the status of personal responsibility.
"Universal testing for HIV is an outrageous invasion of privacy," said Peter Gilmartin, a Spokane salesperson. "HIV is not affecting people like a random flu virus. It is related to behavior and much harder to get than the flu."
CDC estimates about 250,000 Americans have HIV but do not know it since they have not been tested.
"HIV really at this point doesn't pick groups or people or individuals," said Danielle Mahoney, executive director of the North Idaho AIDS Coalition. "The women who are HIV-positive in our caseload would never have been in a high-risk group."
09.22.2006; Jonel Aleccia
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.