Addressing the estimated 25 percent of U.S. HIVers who don’t know they’re positive, the CDC is pushing HIV testing as a routine check-up, especially during pregnancy. The plan, “New Strategies for a Changing Epidemic,” makes four recommendations: voluntarily testing all mothers-to-be (or the newborns of those who refuse); urging docs to offer HIV tests during regular health screenings; using OraQuick tests for super-fast results; and improving partner notification. The directives aren’t mandatory, but some activists fear they could lead to coercive testing of, say, marginalized women and prisoners. What’s more, they argue, quick-test kits will undermine pre- and post-test counseling. The CDC said that it wants only to reach more people with HIV and help those in the dark about their status to get treatment and other services.
July 1, 2003 • By Laura Whitehorn