New Rules Aim To Facilitate HIV Testing in Washington State
The Washington State Board of Health has approved new rules it hopes will facilitate HIV testing and reduce the number of people in the state who are unaware that they are HIV-positive, which is estimated to be 3,000, the Seattle Times reports. Under the new rules, doctors can tailor HIV counseling according to a patient's history and needs as opposed to giving patients comprehensive information about HIV before every test. In addition, health agencies will be responsible for alerting the sex partners of patients who test HIV-positive. Under the old rules, that responsibility fell on doctors, who often directed patients to health agencies for testing because they said they felt uncomfortable contacting patients' partners. "Our goal is to dramatically increase testing and make it more routine," Tom Locke, chair of the board of health, said, adding, "To do that we needed to drastically revise the rules." More than 15,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been recorded in Washington since 1982 (Stanton, Seattle Times, 7/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.