New York: HIV Testing Bill Passes Legislature
July 2, 2010
The New York State Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill that would ease laws on HIV testing consent and counseling. The Senate passed the measure last week, so A 11487 now goes to Gov. David Patterson to be signed into law.
Under the legislation, a patient's oral consent would be sufficient for rapid HIV testing outside correctional settings. Consent to HIV testing could be included in a general consent form covering multiple procedures, so a separate HIV consent form would not be necessary. Consent would be "durable," so that once given, a provider would not have to administer pretest and consent protocols on later visits. Pretest and consent information could be streamlined and provided in writing, rather than orally.
The measure requires health care professionals to offer voluntary HIV screening to all patients ages 13-64 in health care settings, with some exceptions. CDC has endorsed such voluntary, opt-out testing since 2006.
The new law states that if a patient tests HIV-positive, the provider must provide a referral for treatment. Public health agencies will be able to use data from confidential name-based HIV case reporting to monitor the consistency and quality of treatment.
"Many HIV-positive New Yorkers do not know they are infected, so they don't get treatment," said Assembly member Richard N. Gottfried, a sponsor of the bill and chair of the Assembly Health Committee. "This legislation will simplify the process for HIV testing, require the offering of HIV testing in many health care settings, and thus save lives."
One in four New York residents with HIV are unaware of their infection. Those who are unwittingly HIV-infected transmit approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of the new HIV cases.
News Channel 34 (Binghamton)
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