FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
June 25, 2009 Contact: William Gerrish
New law facilitates routine HIV screening in health care settings by eliminating requirement for a separate written or oral consent for HIV testing.
Hartford – Local organizations throughout the state funded by the Connecticut Department of Public Health will provide free HIV testing activities on June 27th, National HIV Testing Day (see attached for a listing).
“National HIV Testing Day recognizes the continued impact of the HIV epidemic on communities across the state and country,” stated DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “Despite advances in treatment, education, and outreach, a significant number of people continue to be unaware of their HIV status, enter into treatment late, or are stigmatized.”
Federal health officials estimate that 25% of HIV infected people in the United States do not know their HIV status. In 2006, an estimated 56,300 new HIV infections occurred in the United States, representing a 40% increase over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) previous estimate of 40,000 new infections per year. In Connecticut, 19,123 people have been reported with HIV infection and 8, 263 have died since 1982.
New Connecticut Law Promotes Screening for HIV
The Connecticut General Assembly recently passed House Bill 6391, An Act Concerning Revisions to the HIV Testing Consent Law. This law, which goes into effect July 1, 2009, is consistent with the CDC’s Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents, and Pregnant Women in Health Care Settings published in 2006.
The law will facilitate routine HIV screening in health care settings by eliminating the requirement for a separate written or oral consent for HIV testing. It allows HIV testing to be covered under general consent for medical treatment as most other routine medical tests are. This law also eliminates Connecticut’s current requirement for extensive pre-test counseling for all HIV tests. Testing will still be voluntary.
“Many persons with HIV are tested late in the course of infection, usually as a result of illness,” said Dr. Galvin. “Increased testing will enable more people to learn their HIV status earlier giving them the option to receive early medical treatment and receive counseling to prevent the transmission of the virus to others.”
For more information, please visit http://www.hivtest.org/
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at www.ct.gov/dph or call (860) 509-7270.