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  • Solving the HIW Testing Problem: An Analysis of New York's New Legislation

    Now, think of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the elephant in a room filled with civil liberties lawyers, medical care providers, and public health specialists: each person’s perspectives and prior experiences enables them to view the HIV testing, screening, and confidentiality problem in a different light. Balancing these extremely different viewpoints is a daunting task and is one which the New York State Legislature has attempted to address. In 2010, the New York State Legislature attempted to balance patient rights, public health safety, and the prevention of HIV with new legislation. As a result, Chapter 308 of the Laws of New York, amending the Public Health Law, was signed in to law by Governor David Paterson. This law implements a mandatory offering of HIV testing in hospitals, emergency rooms, and health care clinics. The main purpose of this law was to revise the informed consent requirements of HIV/AIDS testing while maintaining adequate patient protections. The law also requires that counseling information is tailored based on HIV test results and updates current testing requirements to reflect medical advances. Finally, Chapter 308 authorizes testing of certain occupational exposures to HIV infections.