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Stop Forced Testing

Sample Letter

Autumn '95

Make Your Voices Heard In Washington:

Here is a sample letter that you may want to use.

Honorable ___________________
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

I urge your opposition to the Coburn Amendment to the Ryan White CARE Act. This amendment, in its latest form, would deny AIDS funding to states that do not mandate HIV antibody testing of all newborn infants, or cannot show that the HIV status of 95% of newborn infants is "known." It would grant funds to states for forced HIV testing programs. All newborn infants born to HIV-infected mothers test HIV-antibody positive at birth; however, 80% of these infants are not actually infected themselves.

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Forced testing isn't treatment. The Coburn Amendment provides not a penny for treatment or services for HIV-infected infants-or their mothers. Mandatory HIV testing would drive this vulnerable population from the health care system, as people fear that HIV test results would be used to stigmatize and discriminate against them. Also hindering access to medical care would be the invasive mechanisms necessary for states to meet the alternative requirement of "knowing" the HIV status of 95% of all newborns.

Virtually every medical group, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control, and the March of Dimes, opposes the Coburn Amendment because it's bad public health policy. In passing Ryan White on July 27, 1995, the senate rejected tieing AIDS monies to mandatory HIV screening. The house must do the same.

Sincerely,
Name and address




  
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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.
 

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