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May 1996

A Matter of Trust: Mandatory HIV Testing

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Harlem Hospital Center 506 Lenox Ave New York, NY 10037

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(5):556-557. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170300110026

Eloquent discussions rage across pages of newspapers and journal articles on the merits and demerits of mandatory newborn human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody testing in New York and now for the entire country. However, no article to date, to our knowledge, has examined what lies at the root of this important debate. In a recent article appearing in the Archives, Bateman et al1 have skirted the issue by posing the problem as one of human rights vs public health.

We believe that at the root of the debate is mistrust of a public health system that has not always acted in a manner to protect the health or rights of people of color and those with economic hardship, nor has it involved them in the debate on issues relevant to their lives and welfare. Numerous examples in the past 30 years and most notably in the past 10 years