Mandatory HIV Testing May Tick Some People Off, But It May Also Save Lives

Health Check 19

HIV testingWould you be angry, insulted, or feel imposed upon if the government made HIV testing mandatory for every citizen? Would you revolt? Or would you acquiesce because you were sure it was all part of an effort to stop the spread of the disease?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that every American between the ages of 15 and 65 be tested for the virus. Everybody in that age range, regardless of personal history. 

I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything (OK, just sometimes), but I wonder if there’s a certain threat to civil liberties if the government were to line us up and make us all have a go at testing. Is that preventative healthcare or an exploitation of power?

On the other hand, some 20 percent of folks infected with HIV have no idea and probably have no intention to get tested because they think they’re perfectly healthy. It’s been a hard cycle to break, despite the push for public information and widespread advocacy, particularly in communities that have been hardest hit. And that’s with the availability of free testing, new at-home testing kits, and celebrity spokespeople supporting the movement.

Still, a recommendation that everyone be tested seems like a precursor to something more… forced. And that, I’m sure, would infuriate and ostracize a whole heap of Americans, public health epidemic or not. You know we don’t like anybody trying to tell us what we have to do. I can almost hear people seceding from the union now.

Honestly, is it really a bad idea? I get the whole Constitutional rights bag, but I sure am thankful that polio and TB vaccines were made standard and have put the chokehold on those public health threats. I don’t see the harm in nudging people into knowing their status, especially since outreach isn’t influencing some of us to get ‘er done—even folks who know they haven’t behaved responsibly.

After all of the energy invested into spreading knowledge, I still know people who get dangerously comfortable with a sex partner after a couple of romps in the sack, like the possibility of infection lessens as the relationship progresses. Commitment doesn’t compromise the virus. Plenty of us now know that. But plenty isn’t all.

Is mandatory testing for everyone between the ages of 15 and 65 a good idea?  

Image via david__jones

doctors, drugs, illness, medical tests, preventative medicine, relationships, sex life


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miche... micheledo

BAD idea and I would refuse it.  Mandating something for everyone because of a small percentage that need it is not the way to go.  Otherwise let's mandate weigh ins, calorie counting, breathalyzer tests, drug tests, STD tests, cancer screenings, etc.  It will get ridiculous. 

It's the same thinking that has mandated eye ointment for newborns (not everyone has an STD that can make baby go blind) and made the Hep B vaccine standard for a newborn. 

Stop mandating things because of a percentage of people that don't care or don't know about their health.  That's MY responsibility.  If I don't know and die from it - that's my own fault. 

nonmember avatar Aundrea

Micheledo, if you die from HIV it is your business, but if you unknowingly infect someone else it becomes someone else's business. It is a recommendation not a requirement. To me it's no different than getting a TB test.

kelti... kelticmom

Micheledo, that's all well and good for you to say "if I don't know and die from it, that's my own fault.", but what about the people you could pass it on to? Your husband, your kids, your lovers, healthcare professionals who handle your blood or give you injections, if you chose to get a tattoo - the artist, etc. It's not just dirty promiscuous people who don't care about themselves who are infected.

PonyC... PonyChaser

"I get the whole Constitutional rights bag"

That statement is absolutely pathetic. It's not a "bag", it is the LAW OF THE LAND. Or it used to be, before Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson got their hands on it. And it was, once, put in place to protect the people against an oppressive and tyrannical government.

In a world where you have soda pop and guns being banned "for the public good" and a still-unknown quantity outlining "healthcare" for the entire population that may or may not include medical rationing, I don't know why we even debate over this stuff anymore. Let's all just accept that the government ALWAYS has our best interest at heart, and let's all just give up our free will.... so that we can "be safe".

Ben Franklin was right. Those who will give up liberty for safety deserve neither.

HORRIBLE idea. I will refuse to be tested.

Reepi... Reepicheep.CSL

How about offering it for free and then allowing people to opt out? Sorry, but making my dna available to the government without a court order is not going to happen.

Do you really think that they are only going to test it for hiv?

miche... micheledo

How about take personal responsibility for YOUR health.  You don't like that I would refuse mandatory testing (IF it came to that) because I beleive my health is my own responsibility.  THEN insist that ANYONE you choose to have sex with get tested.  If they refuse - then DON'T sleep with them.  Take responsibility for your own health - don't make everyone else be responsible for you.

jenni... jennifer2712

My step sister only found out she had hiv when her heart started to fail..TWO YEARS after her son was born and it was concluded she had it for years...hes healthy thank goodness..that being said...what about every other deadly disease thats communicable...hep c...syphyllis???

kelti... kelticmom

Micheledo, you left out the kids, the healthcare professionals, etc. What about them? So you are ok with potentially passing HIV to your kids?

Maevelyn Maevelyn

well, we decided that we wanted the government in our health care, they are now financially responcible to make sure that we have health care and they have taken steps in the past to prevent and control viral outbreaks soo... yeah. They have historical precidence on their side. Not shocked if it becomes law. You'll probably have to have your kids tested to get a High School dipolma. 

the4m... the4mutts

It should only be mandatory if you're admitted into a hospital, or in a profession where you may be bleeding onto other people by accident, like police, firemen, doctors, nurses, dentists tattoo artists, etc.

And it should be mandatory for pregnant women, as their unborn child is innocent and should be protected ASAP.

I have had DOZENS of HIV tests in my life. Routine *though not mandatory* durring pregnancy, when admitted to a hospital, *full std pannel* every year for my yearly pap I optionally get a full std pannel. I'm not one of those irresponsible mooks. But I would NOT want the entire population to be force tested. If you go around sleeping with people and never even cnsidering getting them to get tested first, well, you deserve stds.

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