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California Legislature Passes Historic HIV Testing Bill (AB 682); AHF Urges Governor to Sign Crucial Lifesaving Legislation
Date:9/10/2007

public health legislation, which will ensure that HIV screening in California becomes more routine and widespread, and we encourage Governor Schwarzenegger to quickly sign this lifesaving bill when it reaches his desk," said Joseph Terrill, Public Policy Coordinator for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, co-sponsor of the bill. "Consistent with recent CDC recommendations, AB 682 normalizes the process of testing by making HIV screening a routine part of medical care; however, the bill also has provisions to maintain and safeguard patient confidentiality as well as an individual's right to chose whether to test or not. From a public health perspective, AB 682 allows California 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."

"Nearly 40,000 Californians are unaware they are HIV-positive, which means they could be unknowingly transmitting HIV to their partners. In addition, too many people learn of their HIV status when they present themselves to a healthcare provider due to an illness, often when it is too late to fully benefit from lifesaving antiretroviral treatment," said Whitney Engeran III, Director of Public Health Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, co-sponsor of the bill. "AB 682 will help address two major hurdles in the fight against HIV/AIDS in California. First, it will ensure that more Californians learn their HIV status and, as a result, stop spreading it to their partners. Second, it will help guide those people into care and treatment. We thank the Legislature, particularly the bill's authors, Assembly Members Berg, Garcia and Hoffman, for their leadership on this issue, and we anticipate and thank Governor Schwarzenegger for his timely signature on this crucial legislation."

Background on HIV Testing in California

Current California state law, enacted early in the epidemic, requires informed or written informed consent, depending on the
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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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