This year on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (February 7), Lambda Legal continues to examine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised recommendations for expanded HIV testing. Scott Schoettes, Lambda Legal’s HIV Project Staff Attorney, will join a lineup of HIV and health care professionals at Morris Brown College in Atlanta to discuss the new regulations and the impact they could have on Black communities.
In 2006, the CDC revised its HIV testing guidelines for all health-care providers in the public and private sectors. The agency now recommends that the nation’s health care providers test all individuals between the ages of 13 to 64 on an “opt-out” basis, regardless of identified risk factors.
Lambda Legal and approximately 70 community-based organizations have questioned these requirements. Among many concerns is the abandonment of specific, informed consent for HIV testing, the lack of clear recommendations for pre-test counseling and the recommended routine testing of vulnerable populations (undocumented immigrants, prison inmates, etc.) without specific safeguards.
In response to the CDC’s revised guidelines, Lambda Legal has helped develop 15 Fundamental Principles to Guide Implementation. Grounded in sound medical and public health science, the principles should be followed by public and private decision makers as they implement expanded HIV testing services. Among other things, the principles state that HIV testing must always be informed, voluntary, confidential, offered by someone trustworthy, accompanied by counseling and supported by health care and other services.
“HIV/AIDS in the Black Community: Testing, Discrimination and Stigma” is Thursday, February 7, 2008 3pm — 5pm, at Morris Brown College