Does Maine have a law for governing informed consent for HIV testing?
Yes. Maine law mandates that an HIV test must be “voluntary and undertaken only with the patient’s knowledge that an HIV test is planned” (5 M.R.S.A §19203-A).
Maine, however, has eliminated its requirement that no HIV test may be conducted without a patient’s specific written informed consent.
The law now requires only that “[a] patient must be informed orally or in writing that an HIV test will be performed unless the patient declines”(5. M.R.S.A. §19203-A (emphasis added). While the title of § 19203-A is “voluntary informed consent required,” Maine’s law is not an informed consent system. Informed consent, whether oral or written, requires that a patient affirmatively assent before a test can be done. Current Maine law simply requires that a patient be notified that a test will occur and places the burden on the patient to opt out.)
The law also requires that the information given to patients before the test include the meaning of positive and negative test results. In addition, the patient must have the opportunity to ask questions.
Maine law authorizes anonymous HIV testing sites (5 M.R.S.A. §19203-B).
Health insurers or healthcare plans requiring an HIV test must still obtain written informed consent to perform an HIV test (5 M.R.S.A. §19203-A (2)).
In addition, Maine law prohibits a health care provider from denying medical treatment solely because an individual has refused consent to an HIV test (5 M.R.S.A. § 19203-A (3)).