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State laws may impede CDC HIV guidelines.

The majority of states have laws barring doctors from adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's HIV/AIDS screening guidelines that recommend routine HIV testing for all Americans ages 13-64.

A survey of state HIV testing laws published Oct. 10, 2007, in PLoS One, the online journal of the Public Library of Science, found the majority of states have laws that are inconsistent with the CDC guidelines released in September 2006. And in states with recently amended laws, requirements for pre-test counseling and informed consent still make complying with the federal guidelines illegal.

The study found that the majority of states require specific consent for HIV testing, with 14 states requiring written informed consent. Eleven states require pre-test counseling, and 24 states require disclosure of specific information during pre-test counseling or the informed consent process. The information required ranges from HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and prevention measures to the nature of the HIV test to the availability of anonymous testing.

Legal barriers to routine HIV testing may also exist even in states without testing laws, according to the study.

"It may take time--and education efforts--to change public perceptions and to make routine testing acceptable," the study's authors said.

The study pointed to the need to increase HIV testing and decrease the number of people who are unaware they are HIV-positive as well as to the importance of fighting stigmatization and discrimination against people affected by HIV/AIDS.
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Title Annotation:STATES IN BRIEF
Author:Arias, Donya C.
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Dec 1, 2007
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