HIV Care Providers Call on State Legislators to Make HIV Testing More Easily Accessible to Pennsylvanians

September 27, 2010

American Academy of HIV Medicine Members Highlight Need to Change the Current Pennsylvania Legislation on HIV Testing

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — HIV care providers from across the state today called upon key Senate leaders to support pending legislation that would change the current Pennsylvania law on HIV testing by removing the requirement for written informed consent and pre-test counseling. According to Senate Bill 291, currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, medical care providers can document consent, rather than having to obtain a separate written consent form. The adoption of this bill would bring Pennsylvania in line with 45 other states that have already passed similar legislation.

State members of the American Academy of HIV Medicine (AAHIVM) support this measure in terms of reducing the burden on clinicians and other providers of care as they implement routine HIV testing into their practice. The AAHIVM Pennsylvania steering committee members strongly endorse routine HIV testing as an important practice for identifying people with HIV/AIDS earlier so that they can be linked to lifesaving HIV treatment and modify their behaviors to prevent further spread of HIV disease.

“Early treatment equals prevention,” said Mary van den Berg-Wolf, MD, FACP, AAHIVS, chair of the AAHIVM Pennsylvania steering committee. “By making testing for HIV disease less cumbersome, we will be able to identify more positive patients earlier, which leads to better health outcomes for the patient and reduces transmission to others.”

CDC estimates that 25% of all HIV-infected individuals are unaware they are HIV positive. An estimated 40 percent of individuals with HIV are diagnosed within one year of developing AIDS–when it is often too late for them to fully benefit from the remarkable advances we have made in the treatment of HIV disease. While there is no data on reported HIV cases in Pennsylvania, the state reported 18,581 persons living with an AIDS diagnosis in 2007. There were 1,402 new AIDS diagnoses in the state in 2008.

The AAHIVM Pennsylvania steering committee includes:

Mary van den Berg-Wolf, MD, FACP, AAHIVS

Temple University School of Medicine, Dept. of General Internal Medicine

Jody Borgman, MD, AAHIVS

Albert Einstein Medical Center, Community Practice Center

Margaret Hoffman-Terry, MD, FACP, AAHIVS

Lehigh Valley Hospital, AIDS Activities Office

Joseph Yozviak, DO, AAHIVS

Lehigh Valley Hospital, AIDS Activities Office

The American Academy of HIV Medicine is a professional organization that supports the HIV practitioner and promotes accessible, quality care for all Americans living with HIV disease. Our membership of HIV practitioners, credentialed HIV Specialists and HIV Experts provide direct care to more than three-fourths of HIV patients in the U.S.

SOURCE American Academy of HIV Medicine

Source: newswire

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