Printer Friendly

Addressing everyone's no. 1 concern.

Addressing everyone's No. 1 concern

The AIDS crisis stimulated a lot of activity in state legislatures last year. Coming on top of many existing statutes and regulations, more than 450 bills were introduced on a broad variety of AIDS concerns.

Laws already enacted deal with these kinds of issues: authorizing local and state health directors to order AIDS testing on individuals known or suspected, through medical or epidemiological information, to have the disease and to represent a danger to the public (Colorado); requiring blood donor organizations to adopt policies and procedures for directed blood donations (Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee); and prohibiting employers from requiring an AIDS anitbody test as a condition of employment (Massachusetts and Wisconsin).

This information comes from a status report on state AIDS laws in the Nov. 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Prepared by Hilary E. Lewis, J.D., the article focused on 10 areas: antibody testing, blood and blood products, confidentiality, employment, housing, informed consent, insurance, marriage, the prison population, and reporting.

As of late last year, laws of 33 states covered one or more of these social and legal aspects of AIDS, but author Lewis noted that policymakers have also responded to the crisis through administrative action. "This is particularly true with respect to regulations developed by state insurance commissioners and state public health department reporting requirements,' she wrote.

For example, only Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin have laws requiring AIDS antibody testing on donated organs or donated semen, which must certainly be the subject of regulation elsewhere.

In all, 13 states have AIDS testing laws. Among others, Florida requires individuals convicted of prostitution to be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, and Iowa directs the state department of health to provide confidential AIDS screening and confirmatory testing at the request of "persons at high risk.'

States prohibit or restrict disclosure of information on AIDS patients in several ways. Laws of nine states assure persons with AIDS or AIDS-related complex and AIDS carriers of confidential treatment of medical or epidemiologic information or records held or maintained by a state agency, health care provider or facility, physician, laboratory, blood bank, or third-party payer (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Texas).

California and New York prohibit release of information in confidential research records except under certain specified conditions, and Iowa protects the identity of high-risk individuals who seek AIDS screening.

Some states have passed laws requiring written informed consent before a person can be tested for AIDS antibody by any health care provider.

And here are some of the many state reporting laws: licensed hospitals and physicians must report confirmed AIDS cases to the state board of health (California, Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana); the state department of health must provide a list of carriers, donors, and persons who test positive for AIDS antibody to blood banks and plasma centers (California); clinical labs must report to the local or state health department the name, birthdate, sex, and address of any individual who tests positive for AIDS antibody (Colorado); and an attending physician may disclose to a patient's spouse that the patient has tested positive for AIDS antibody, without incurring civil or criminal liability for such disclosure (California).

Of course, there has been regulatory action on the Federal level as well (see MLO's July 1987 Washington Report, "Feds Give Green Light to Expanded AIDS Testing').

Recognizing that our readers want to know as much as they can about the crisis and its effect on laboratorians, MLO continues its AIDS coverage in this issue with two articles, "AIDS Risks and Precautions for Laboratory Personnel,' page 51, and "Protection Against Lab-Acquired Infection: A New Safety Manual,' page 59, plus our Washington Report on page 25. I think you will find them not only informative but reassuring.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:450 bills concerning AIDS were introduced in 1987
Author:Fitzgibon, Robert J.
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jan 1, 1988
Previous Article:A cost-out program for chemistry instrument selection.
Next Article:Lab manager as group practice administrator.

Related Articles
The risk of AIDS infection from casual job contact.
AIDS risks and precautions for laboratory personnel.
Beat the press: death threats and bullying tactics follow AIDS journalists who contradict the conventional wisdom.
The development of specialized biomedical information.
The effects of HIV/AIDS education on the anxiety of rehabilitation workers.
AIDS obsession (AIDS educaton in Catholic schools).
The persistence of prevention politics. (Policy Update).

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters