A new Florida law kicking in today makes getting an HIV test easier. Doctors no longer need written consent to give patients an HIV test in health care settings, like doctor’s offices and hospitals.
The law could have a big impact in Florida, which has more new HIV infections than anywhere else in the country.
Jesse Fry is a policy analyst with the AIDS Institute in Tallahassee. He said an estimated 18,000 Floridians have HIV and don’t know they have the virus, according to the institute.
“We make this part of the routine now,” Fry said. “You’re scheduled for a cholesterol test and a complete blood count analysis and oh, by the way, I’m gonna schedule you for an HIV test.”
Patients can still opt out of the test.
The law is based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, and was co-sponsored by Florida state Sen. Geraldine Thompson.