New Wisconsin Law Promotes More Voluntary HIV Testing
April 23, 2010
On Wednesday, Gov. Jim Doyle signed into law a measure that changes the consent provisions for HIV testing to help increase screening. Under the new law, health care providers can test a patient for HIV provided he or she has been properly informed and does not opt out of the screening. Previously, state law required the patient to provide such consent in writing.
The law was enacted to promote routine voluntary HIV testing; earlier diagnosis, treatment, and care; and to help prevent HIV's spread. In addition, the law will help reduce the time and paperwork associated with HIV screening, said Karen Timberlake, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. It also doubles penalties for illegal disclosure of HIV test results, she noted.
In 2009, new HIV diagnoses in Wisconsin increased 11 percent compared to 2008 and 32 percent since 2001, according to the department. Nationally, 54-70 percent of the new infections are transmitted by persons who are not aware of their own HIV status, it said.
"The number of people living with HIV continues to grow as new infections occur and HIV treatments successfully extend life," said Timberlake. "Early detection is an invaluable resource in stopping the spread of this disease. With an improved consent law, testing and detection in Wisconsin will be significantly improved."
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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.