Tuesday, September 20, 2011

HIV Testing Consent Relaxation - A Bid to Increase Volume

A Boston Globe article details how Massachusetts, one of the few states requiring a patient's written consent to perform an HIV test, is  considering dropping the requirement.  Such consent notices limit the amount of tests performed.  San Francisco eliminated the restriction in 2006 and saw testing increase from 13.5 per 1,000 patient visits to 18 tests per 1,000 patient visits. 

A proposal to change how people give consent for HIV tests has divided AIDS advocacy groups in Massachusetts and upset major medical organizations, stymieing legislators trying to bring the state into compliance with federal recommendations aimed at promoting more testing.
At issue is a bill that would drop Massachusetts’ requirement for specific written patient consent before a doctor tests for the AIDS virus - something 48 other states have done - and replace that with verbal consent. The measure would also require the physician note in the medical record the patient’s decision.

 Beckman Coulter, Becton Dickinson and Roche are among the companies producing HIV tests.