Expanding the Availability and Acceptance of Voluntary HIV Testing: Fundamental Principles to Guide Implementation, The Center for HIV Law & Policy et al.

CHLP Original Publication | Letters and Other Advocacy Documents

In response to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) push for expanded rapid testing with decreased attention on counseling and informed consent, a group of HIV legal, medical, and service organizations endorsed these fundamental principles to guide the implementation of expanded voluntary testing for HIV. The fundamental principles emphasize that HIV testing must always be informed, voluntary, confidential, and supported by health care and other services, and that testing is always most effective when offered by someone trusted and trustworthy. The 15 guidelines include: (1) People living with undiagnosed HIV infection must be reached and offered testing; (2) Any HIV testing program must provide the highest standard of care; (3) Everyone offered testing must be educated about HIV and the significance of positive and negative test results; (4) People who test positive for HIV antibodies must be linked to care; (5) Expanded HIV testing must be carefully planned, implemented, and monitored; (6) People with HIV/AIDS and other stakeholders must be included in formulating plans for expanded testing; (7) Patients' human rights and informed consent are consistent with, and not opposed to, the goal of expanded HIV testing; (8) Expanded HIV testing must be tailored to different clinical settings, populations, and patient needs; (9) Clinicians, medical directors, and other providers must receive training and education in delivering high-quality testing programs; (10) Clinicians, medical directors, and other providers must receive training and education in making appropriate service referrals and linkages to care; (11) Community-based HIV prevention interventions must be expanded in tandem with efforts to expand voluntary HIV testing in healthcare settings; (12) Special attention must be paid to the prevention and care needs of at-risk populations; (13) Expanded testing and the provision of care to all existing and new HIV cases require new and adequate funding; (14) Testing protocols must address insurance issues; and (15) Efforts to assist those with undiagnosed and untreated or unmonitored HIV infection must be evaluated. The primary authors of the Principles are The Center for HIV Law and Policy, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Lambda Legal.