In late 2006, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began actively promoting HIV testing of all patients age 13 to 64 in health care settings. Lambda Legal supports expanded access to HIV testing and treatment, and believes that our government should be doing more to ensure that people with HIV learn their status and also have access to treatment and care. However, we are concerned that the CDC’s recommendations do not adequately protect a patient’s right to informed consent and may result in involuntary testing. Furthermore, although the CDC acknowledges that HIV stigma and discrimination persist, the recommendations do not sufficiently take ongoing HIV stigma and discrimination into account.
Lambda Legal has teamed up with the ACLU AIDS Project to produce materials that highlight our concerns about the CDC’s recommendations. The materials explain the continuing importance of basic patient protections, such as informed consent and counseling prior to an HIV test, and present evidence that HIV stigma and discrimination are not relics of the past, as some have wrongly claimed. Because we also believe that the CDC’s recommendations have in some instances been misinterpreted, we have also prepared a brief explanation about what the CDC is and is not recommending.
We hope that you find these materials helpful in understanding the CDC’s recommendations and in considering any proposed changes to the HIV counseling and testing laws in your state.