2007_1_health_aids.jpgThis is a question that you may expect to hear from your doctor during your next check up if a new proposal by health commissioner Thomas Frieden and state assembly member Darryl Towns passes. A NY State law passed in the 1980s that required patients to provide permission or "informed consent" before they were tested for HIV may be replaced by new CDC recommendations that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should undergo HIV testing as part of routine medical care.

The original permission form, so to speak, explained the nature of the test as well as the patient's rights, including the right to not have the test performed. The original law also required that once a New Yorker agreed to testing, they would receive an "explanation of the nature of AIDS- and HIV-related illness, information about discrimination problems that disclosure of the test result could cause and legal protections against such discrimination, and information about behavior known to pose risks for transmission and contraction of HIV infection." Further, if a patient tested positive, the law required that they would either receive counseling or a referral for counseling for the impending emotional effects and potential discrimination that may come with the diagnosis.

Frieden has been working on changing the New York State law to agree with the CDC recs for over a year, suggesting that the informed consent process is just another obstacle that keeps patients from being promptly diagnosed and treated. This is in contrast to concerns voiced by physicians who feel the current red tape forces them to take the time and properly counsel their patients and address their concerns.

Do you think that HIV testing should be part of your regular check up?