Changing the paradigm for HIV testing : the end of exceptionalism

Bayer, Ronald; Fairchild, Amy L.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is poised to issue new recommendations for testing for HIV in adults, adolescents, and pregnant women. Frustrated that more than 25 percent of Americans with HIV infection are unaware of their status and that almost 40 percent of those with newly diagnosed AIDS discover that they are infected less than a year before diagnosis, officials have proposed that HIV screening be routinely offered in all health care settings. The CDC already recommends routine testing among high-risk groups and in high-prevalence settings. The radical departure is the extension of routine testing to the entire population and the reconceptualization of the requirements for consent. Patients would be told that HIV testing was a routine part of care and given the opportunity to opt out. According to the CDC, specific signed consent would no longer be required, because “general consent for medical care is sufficient to encompass consent for HIV testing.”



Also Published In

New England Journal of Medicine

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health
Published Here
February 22, 2013