Commentary & Opinion
Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report Highlights Editorials on CDC Proposal to Make HIV Testing Routine
May 12, 2006
Three newspapers recently published editorials on CDC's proposal to make voluntary HIV testing routine. Summaries of the editorials appear below.
- Des Moines Register: If CDC's proposed routine testing guidelines are adopted, "then what?" a Register editorial says. How many Americans who are HIV-positive and unaware of their status also are uninsured, the editorial asks. Early testing for HIV is the "right idea," the editorial says, but the "harder part" is "making sure those needing treatment get it," the editorial concludes (Des Moines Register, 5/12).
- Macon Telegraph: CDC's routine HIV testing proposal "makes good sense" because it would "protec[t] the patient and those he or she might infect," according to a Telegraph editorial. The "one key obstacle to overcome" is the fact that the CDC's recommendations conflict with a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report that says universal HIV testing is "not particularly beneficial," the editorial says. However, that report did not take into account, as CDC has, that when people know their HIV status, they often adjust their behavior, according to the editorial. Detecting HIV in pregnant women also enables early treatment that could prevent women from transmitting the virus to their infants. CDC's guidelines "should be adopted as standard procedure," the editorial concludes (Macon Telegraph, 5/10).
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer: CDC "has the right idea," and its recommendation to make HIV testing routine could "save lives and reduce risky behavior," according to a Post-Intelligencer editorial. However, the proposal has "some problems that need to be ironed out," the editorial says. Some advocacy groups have questioned whether CDC has ensured that routine testing will lead to increased HIV prevention education, the editorial says. In addition, the federal government -- which already is short on HIV/AIDS funding -- might cut outreach and prevention programs rather than bolster them if routine testing is recommended, according to the editorial. It concludes, "Routine testing can be a good step, but it requires much stronger provisions for adequate counseling and education" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 5/11).
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