State HIV Testing Laws at Odds With CDC Guidelines

Most states ignore 2006 recommendations to routinely test teens and most adults

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A majority of states have HIV testing requirements that are inconsistent with 2006 recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement routine HIV testing for all patients ages 13-64, which would eliminate requirements for written consent and pretest counseling, according to a study published Oct. 10 in Public Library of Science -- ONE.

Leslie E. Wolf, J.D., M.P.H., of the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues searched electronic databases to identify relevant statutes and regulations in all 50 states.

The researchers found that most states require specific consent for HIV testing, with 14 states requiring written informed consent, 19 states permitting oral consent, and 11 states requiring pretest counseling.

"Our analysis of state laws regarding HIV testing demonstrates that the policies adopted early in the epidemic to encourage testing mostly remain in place today," the authors wrote. "The CDC's recommendations for routine HIV testing represent an important change in the public health approach to HIV. However, states are ultimately responsible for implementing HIV testing policy, and individual states may have different concerns. More attention needs to be focused on understanding why states appear to have been reluctant to adopt HIV testing policies that permit more routine testing and to develop policy options that will be acceptable to them."

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