Routine Opt-Out HIV Testing in 2011: The Road to Civility Is Paved With Forgiveness
December 6, 2010
2011: Restating Key Routine HIV Testing Arguments With Clarity and Intelligence, Hold the Static
The new year will bring a fresh opportunity to restate the essential points we made in support of routine HIV testing in Massachusetts. These points remain potent and timely. They resonate.
And I intend to do in 2011 what I did not do this year past -- demystify and humanize routine opt-out HIV testing. What will routine opt-out HIV testing sound like? This script (embellishments added for dramatic purposes only) is presently offered by medical practitioners in clinics, hospitals and other medical testing environments where routine HIV testing is in place:
Now was that so bad? To me, this script reads and feels like a breath of fresh air on the most glorious of May days. Rather than keeping HIV lurking behind a shrouded veil of denial and stigma as The Virus-We-Prefer-Not-To-Talk-About -- and don't -- states who have adopted routine opt-out HIV testing have entered a new age of HIV in which health care providers are better informed and knowledgeable about the virus because it becomes part of their daily standard operating procedures. Those diagnosed are better prepared to face the consequences of an HIV diagnosis because routine opt-out testing levels the playing field regarding HIV testing, diagnosis and treatment options.
There remain those who resist letting go of written informed consent HIV testing. They see it as the gold standard, as the end-all be-all, and contend that it is still an effective testing protocol. I fought so hard to see routine opt-out HIV testing enacted as the law in Massachusetts because I know firsthand that none of their arguments about written informed consent are true. I found out the hard way.
A little known fact about me: Not only am I a graduate with honors from The School of Letting Go, I am also the Headmistress! To those interested in matriculating, I am always available to discuss coursework and degree programs. Change is good, really it is. And routine opt-out HIV testing is the essential change we need to bring us into the future of HIV.
Breathe it in, breathe it out, let it go. I wish you all good health, and well-punched soles, in the year to come.
Ed Perlmutter was diagnosed with HIV in July 2006, and has been receiving HIV therapy through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study since September 2006. He lives with his partner in an old farmhouse on the city limits of Boston, in the woods, amongst critters and varmints and dozens of varieties of dahlias. When he is not raising awareness as an accidental activist, he works as a manufacturing manager for a publishing company in Boston.
This article was provided by TheBody.
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