Policy & Politics
Illinois: New Law Allows HIV Tests With Just Spoken Consent
June 28, 2007
On Wednesday, National HIV Testing Day, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation that streamlines HIV testing procedures in Illinois. The new law allows patients to give verbal consent for the test, rather than filling out formal paperwork.
The legislation requires health care providers to supply patients with pre-test information about HIV and how to interpret test results. Those testing positive must be told of the results in person, and referrals to appropriate counseling and medical providers must be given. Patients can decline to be tested.
It is hoped the legislation will make HIV testing more common and increase early detection. According to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, up to 10,000 people in Illinois are believed to HIV-positive but do not know they are infected. For some, said AFC lobbyist John Peller, diagnosis comes too late for treatment to be effective. "It really becomes a tragedy of missed opportunities," he said.
Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago), a sponsor of the bill, said, "This puts us on a path so there is less and less of a stigma attached to getting an HIV test." Another sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), stressed the importance of continuing to promote HIV prevention: "We can't deceive ourselves that we can test our way out of the epidemic. We must also teach our way out."
06.28.2007; Monique Garcia
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.