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What about mandatory AIDS testing?

What about mandatory AIDS testing?

Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association 87(2): 66-71

Mandatory testing for AIDS is controversial. Such screening has been suggested for prisoners, immigrants, prostitutes, military personnel, and persons contemplating marriage or pregnancy. Quarantining and even tatooing have also been recommended for persons with AIDS. The advent of mass testing raises the issues of (1) proper allocation of scarce AIDS resources; (2) the need for confidentiality of examination reports; (3) the value of this assessment without the existence of a definitive treatment; (4) the possibility of both false positive and false negative results; and (5) the provision of counseling for people with positive testing. Other concerns involve public health needs versus individual rights, and the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship. Past epidemics serve as paradigms for the role of mandatory screening and quarantine in a public health crisis. As testing for AIDS is expanded, anticipate that adverse reactions such as panic, depression, grief, compulsive behavior, and suicide attempts will increase. The physician must provide counsel on such matters as "safe sex" practices, avoidance of needle sharing, and early warning signs of AIDS and ARC.

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Accession: 041970928

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PMID: 2723520

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