CDC's Alarming Underestimation of HIV/AIDS Infections Demands Swift Passage of AB 1894
California Poised to Lead the Nation in Setting Medical Standard in HIV/AIDS Prevention
August 7, 2008
Sacramento, CA -- Today, California's leading HIV/AIDS and health care experts called on the Governor and Legislature to pass AB 1894 in light of the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, which found that the United States has been underestimating HIV infections by more than 40 percent (per year) for the past decade.
Additionally, the new incidence data confirms the disproportionate impact HIV/AIDS is having on minority communities with the infection rate among African-Americans seven times and Hispanic-Americans three times greater than whites.
Experts believe that AB 1894 -- which requires private insurers to cover routine HIV screening -- is precisely the sort of response needed to the CDC's alarming report and the critical next step in making routine HIV testing the standard of medical practice. Combined with the almost unanimous passage of last year's AB 682 (which simplified patient consent for HIV-testing in California), the state is poised to lead the nation in setting a national medical standard for HIV/AIDS care and prevention.
Richard Frankenstein, MD, President, California Medical Association:
"With treatments available today, HIV is a manageable chronic condition, but unfortunately it is estimated that 40,000 Californians are HIV positive and don't know it. It is critical that doctors and other health care providers have as many tools as possible to help all Californians know their status, access treatment if needed, and reduce risk of transmission. AB 1894, which will require routine screening to be covered by private insurance, is an essential step to make HIV testing part of everyone's routine health care."
Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS Healthcare Foundation:
Dana Van Gorder, Executive Director, Project Inform:
Additional background: AB 1894 (authored by Assembly Member Paul Krekorian) would require all group and individual health insurance plans to pay for an HIV test regardless of whether the testing is related to a primary diagnosis or the patient is showing symptoms. Consider:
Click here to view the CDC study.
This article was provided by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.