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March 1, 2012

GLAD Statement on HIV Testing Bill

AN ACT TO INCREASE ROUTINE SCREENING OF HIV

A bill was passed today by the Massachusetts Senate which would require verbal rather than written consent before an HIV test can be administered in the state. The following statement was issued by Ben Klein, AIDS Law Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

“This bill addresses the issue that doctors have said is troublesome to them – written consent for HIV testing – while still maintaining the strong patient privacy protections so critical to stopping the spread of HIV in Massachusetts.  We appreciate the Senate’s role, especially the work of Senator Patricia Jehlen and Senate President Therese Murray, in reaching this compromise.

“Our state has been extremely successful in identifying HIV infection and preventing its spread, in large part because of our strong protections for patients and their privacy.

“The real barrier to HIV testing has been that not enough doctors are offering the test.  It’s now time for the medical community to step up and do their part. “

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Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.