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May 27, 1988

The Use of HIV Antibody Testing by Physicians-Reply

Author Affiliations

Cook County Hospital Chicago

Cook County Hospital Chicago

JAMA. 1988;259(20):2995. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720200016012

In Reply.  —Dr Decker asks: Might we not unnecessarily alarm patients in whom the likelihood of HIV infection is very small with mandatory HIV antibody pretest counseling? I think not; the information contained in appropriate pretest counseling is valuable, even to those at low risk, and it may be readily accompanied by an honest expression of the physician's opinion of the unlikelihood of HIV infection. The public health value of mandating appropriate counseling and consent with HIV antibody testing is a more compelling priority than the risk of fears raised by a remote possibility of HIV infection in low-risk patients.The new Illinois law (AIDS Confidentiality Act, Public Acts 85-667 and 85-679) does indeed contain exceptions; for example, the screening of blood, blood products, and organ and semen donors, as well as appropriate HIV testing in research protocols, including blinded seroprevalence studies. Infection control policy should be directed toward implementation