(AUSTIN, TX)//Today, on the 22nd Annual World AIDS Day, State Senator Rodney Ellis filed legislation to implement routine HIV testing. The legislation is based on the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2006 recommendations for routine HIV testing.
World AIDS Day was started by the United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) in 1988. It has since become one of the most recognized international health days and a key opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.
“In honor of World AIDS Day, I have filed routine HIV testing legislation, which increases access to testing by incorporating it into routine medical care. This legislation also aims to remove legal and reimbursement barriers, in addition to reducing the stigma by making testing routine,” said Senator Ellis.
Senate Bill 241 will require health care providers to offer HIV tests in the course of routine medical screening. The patient will maintain the option to decline. The bill also provides for reimbursement from Medicaid and private insurance plans.
“It is my hope that this legislation will make HIV testing as routine as getting a physical or flu shot and move our state forward in reducing the number of individuals infected from this virus,” commented Ellis
The CDC believes that the number of new cases of HIV each year could be decreased by up to 30 percent with routine screening in all heath care settings. It costs approximately $303,000 to treat each new HIV infection, but only $35 for an HIV test.