Federal Funds Should Not Be Used for Rapid HIV Testing in Gay Bathhouses, Sex Clubs, Opinion Piece Says
Although the 20-minute, rapid HIV test OraQuick "has valuable applications," the fact that federally funded tests can be administered in gay bathhouses and sex clubs "mean[s] we have sued for peace with the behavior that spreads a lethal virus," nationally syndicated columnist Terence Jeffrey writes in a Washington Times opinion piece (Jeffrey, Washington Times, 9/28). In June, the CDC announced that it would contract with OraSure Technologies, maker of OraQuick, to purchase 250,000 of the quick test kits and distribute them to every state health department in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/27). According to Jeffrey, CDC spokesperson Karlie Stanton has confirmed that the federally funded tests provided to the health departments can also be used in bathhouses and sex clubs. However, because U.S. policy "has not inspired better behavior," the nation's annual HIV incidence rate has remained stable despite "massive increases in federal spending to fight the virus," Jeffrey says. The distribution of rapid tests "transfers to all taxpayers some of the cost incurred by unrepentant practitioners of reckless behavior," Jeffrey writes, concluding, "Until we face the behaviors that spread HIV with ... moral clarity, the virus will continue to defeat us" (Jeffrey, Washington Times, 9/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.