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October 25, 2006

HIV Screening in Health Care SettingsPublic Health and Civil Liberties in Conflict?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Center for Law and the Public's Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 2006;296(16):2023-2025. doi:10.1001/jama.296.16.2023

On September 22, 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping revision of its guidelines for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening in health care settings1 that reversed a decade-old approach to AIDS policy. Previous guidelines recommended HIV testing only for persons at high risk or in health care settings with high HIV prevalence,2 which reflected a civil liberties approach that constrained testing with costly, cumbersome procedures for pretest counseling and written informed consent. Health care professionals often did not perform HIV screening due to financial or administrative burdens or because conducting risk assessments or discovering HIV prevalence in their facilities was impractical.

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