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April 27, 2012

GLAD Statement on New HIV Testing Law:

Confidentiality Protected; Doctors Must Step Up

Today, Governor Deval Patrick will sign into law “An Act to Increase Routine Screening for HIV.”  The bill changes the Commonwealth’s HIV testing law by requiring a patient’s verbal, instead of written, consent in order for a doctor to test for HIV.

Bennett Klein, AIDS Law Project Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), commended Senate President Therese Murray, Senator Patricia Jehlen, Representative Byron Rushing, and Governor Patrick for their commitment to the fight against HIV. During negotiations with legislators and advocates around the bill, GLAD played a critical role in preserving strong confidentiality protections for people with HIV.

“Massachusetts has always been a leader in preventing the spread of HIV in large part due to our robust confidentiality protections,” said Klein.  “We hope now, with the removal of the written consent requirement, the medical profession will step up and get the job done by offering an HIV test to all patients as public health authorities recommend. We hope to see an increase in testing and treatment now.”

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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.