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March 1, 2012

GLAD Statement on HIV Testing Bill


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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Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.