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AHF Says 'Op-Out' Clause is Crucial to New Jersey Law Requiring HIV Testing of Pregnant Women
Date:12/26/2007

Whitney Engeran, III, Director of Public Health Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Requiring a patient to opt out of a test rather than having to volunteer for a test is a policy and legislative decision that will clearly result in more women being tested, while also preserving their right to choose to test or not."

"From a public health perspective, this legislation allows New Jersey to get a better handle on its HIV incidence while also affording many in need the chance to access care and services for their HIV disease sooner," said Joseph Terrill, Acting Director of Public Affairs for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Consistent with recent CDC recommendations, this legislation should help normalize the process of testing by making HIV screening a routine part of medical care while preserving the crucial and empowering option of choice in the process."

Changes in Federal Guidelines on HIV Testing

On September 22, 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its "Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing." In that document, the CDC strongly urged routine HIV screening of all persons in a health care setting. This new bill will serve to modernize New Jersey law and enable the state to meet CDC expectations while preserving a woman's right to opt out of testing should she so choose.

According to the CDC, "HIV infection is consistent with all generally accepted criteria that justify screening: HIV infection is a serious health disorder that can be diagnosed before symptoms develop; HIV can be detected by reliable, inexpensive, and noninvasive screening tests; Infected patients have years of life to gain if treatment is initiated early, before symptoms develop; and the costs of screening are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits."

About AHF

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation's largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare, research, prevention and education provider. In Californi
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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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