Illinois General Assembly Approves Bill That Would Remove Written Consent Requirement for HIV Tests
The Illinois House and Senate have unanimously voted to approve a bill (HB 980) that would remove a state requirement that people receiving HIV tests provide written consent prior to undergoing the test, the Chicago Tribune reports. A previous version of the bill drew criticism from groups concerned it would "weaken safeguards that prevent doctors from giving people HIV tests without their knowledge." After talks among lawmakers, public health officials and advocacy groups, the final bill "eliminate[d] hurdles to testing while increasing penalties for violating patients' privacy or right to consent," according to the Tribune. The bill is in keeping with CDC efforts to make HIV testing more routine, the Tribune reports. According to David Munar, associate director of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the bill also would double the financial penalties for doctors or clinics that violate people's rights. Violations, such as the unauthorized disclosure of a person's HIV status or testing without consent, would carry a fine of up to $10,000 under the bill, the Tribune reports. A spokesperson for Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) said the governor's office is reviewing the bill and not officially decided if he should sign it into law. According to Munar and Ford, it would be surprising if Blagojevich does not sign the bill because the health department had a role in drafting it (Chicago Tribune, 6/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.