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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

setting, before an HIV test can be conducted. This law makes it difficult for medical providers to routinely screen patients for HIV infection and contributes to the fact that nearly 40,000 Californians do not know that they are HIV positive and, hence, are not getting treatment and are unknowingly exposing others. AB 682 will change California law from informed consent to simple consent, with a requirement that a patient be given information about the test and be informed that he or she can decline the test. It will also streamline some of the procedures a physician must follow in testing a pregnant woman.

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. AB 682 will serve to modernize California law and enable the state to meet CDC expectations.

A study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) "Association Between Rates of HIV Testing and Elimination of Written Consents in San Francisco," (March 14, 2007-Vol. 297, No. 10) revealed the potential for increased HIV testing rates when certain barriers to testing are removed. The research letter, (authored by Jeff D. Klausner, MD, MPH and Mitchell H. Katz, MD of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFPHD), and Nicola M. Zetola, MD, Barbara Haller, MD, PhD and Patricia Nassos, PhD of the University of California, San Francisco) examined the rate of HIV testing after the San Francisco Department of Public Health, in May 2006, replaced written consent with verbal consent for testing through its facilities. The results show a major increase in the rate of HIV testing after this move to streamline the testing process. For example, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center went from diagnosing 20 cases of HIV a month to over 30.'/>"/>

SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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