May 11, 2006

HIV testing for everyone? good? bad?

So the CDC has reccomended that HIV testing become a standard part of a physical or emergency room visit. It could be opted out of, but there would be no specific consent form for the HIV test.

This article says, "Standardizing HIV testing should reduce the stigma as well as transmission, CDC officials said."

There are logistical issues, like that right now, you have to have councilling when you pick up HIV test results.

If you are HIV positive, you can't get a green card or citizenship without certain very specific family, economic, and employment status, so this could be a problem if people do not understand that. Currently, HIV testing is already involved in citizenship applications, so it seems thsi would most affect folks looking to get a visa or green card, particularly if they don't know this or are unsure about how to opt out of testing.

I keep hearing about this announcement but have heard surprisingly little reaction. What do people think of this reccomendation? Would it destigmatize HIV? Would it screw people over? Would it help more people to know their status? What do you think?

1 comment:

tea cozy said...

hmmm... I can see a lot of upsides to this kind of mandatory testing (I think the stigma one's a big one, and also with this you don't have to make an appointment specifically to get an HIV test, you can just go in for a physical). Also I think time will probably reveal a TON of people have HIV without knowing it; testing is one of the most important things to do towards halting HIV... even if it would just be in the US.

The citizenship/green card/visa thing is a problem, though. It would probably screw people over... but if this is a cost-benefit analysis, I think that between the screwage surrounding visa/green card application vs. the screwage involved in not knowing about your HIV early, the 2nd one would probably win out, especially since HIV testing is already involved in citizenship applications.

There seem to be a couple of battles that need fighting, though --- presumably the citizenship/green card/visa battle needs to get fought, perhaps more aggressively and on a different front? it seems like a measure like universal (quasi-universal, I know, some people spend their entire lives without access to a doctor, even in the US) HIV testing would be such a big step that it's not worth compromising for visa/green card reasons.

On the other hand, there is also the issue of insurance --- not that I know anything really about insurance policies or about confidentiality or anything else --- does anyone actually know and want to comment on that?