Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
UNAIDS, WHO Should Endorse Voluntary, Routine HIV Testing, Editorial Says
UNAIDS and the World Health Organization "should move quickly to endorse" routine HIV testing that allows patients to opt out because "[t]heir guidance is followed worldwide and will help rally needed help from outside donors," a New York Times editorial says. CDC recently released new HIV testing recommendations that call for routine HIV testing for residents ages 13 to 64, and Botswana has changed the rules to its HIV testing policy so that routine testing is conducted in clinics and hospitals and people are given the option to opt out, according to the editorial. Since the policy was changed, the number of HIV tests performed in the country has "quadrupled," and "85% of those who need treatment get it," the editorial says. Current testing procedures -- which have a "strong emphasis on privacy and consent" -- were "designed when little could be done to help people with HIV," the editorial says, adding that although antiretroviral drugs are "being rolled out in every country," limited access to testing means that "people may find out they have AIDS only when it is too late to save their lives." Governments worldwide "need to follow Botswana's lead and make AIDS testing routine in every health clinic and hospital," the editorial says, concluding that "donors should ensure that every clinic has a reliable supply of AIDS tests" (New York Times, 10/13).
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