I want to give a quick heads-up about a piece of legislation moving forward in New York. It’s a proposal folks raised the alarm about with Lambda Legal, Transgender Law Center, Positive Women’s Network-NY, Legal Action Center, Health and Education Alternatives for Teens (H.E.A.T.) SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University, and SMART last month.

S.7809 (Hoylman-Sigal) will be called for a vote any day now because there’s a push to get it passed before the end of New York’s legislative session on Thursday, June 6. It would repeal the current legal requirement that a provider directly, verbally discuss HIV testing with a patient before ordering a test. Instead, S.7809 would allow any kind of written signage or notice, like a boilerplate sign on the wall of an emergency room to the fine print on a medical form, to be sufficient notice someone will be tested for HIV. So far, there isn’t any research or data to support such a drastic change, since there isn’t research showing testing people without directly notifying them or engaging them first produces better HIV health outcomes.

>> You can read more about the bill here. Thank you to Elder Antionettea Etienne, co-chair of Positive Women’s Network-NY, for helping us raise awareness about the issues with nonconsensual HIV testing.

If you’re in New York and would like to support, there are a few things you can do to voice your opposition to this harmful change. Lawmakers have heard a lot from medical providers who don’t want to bother talking to patients about HIV testing. Now, they need to hear from you!

1. Call Leader Stewart-Cousins at (518) 455-2715 and let her know that testing people affected by HIV without their knowledge or consent is harmful. Urge her NOT to call S.7809 (Hoylman-Sigal) for a vote. 

2. Call Assemblymember Paulin at (518) 455-5585, who sponsors the companion bill, and urge her to "recall" the bill. Let her know testing people for HIV without even talking with them first is bad policy and harms people living with HIV.

3. Share this email and this op-ed widely through your networks to let folks know eliminating informed consent before testing is bad HIV policy and we won’t stand idly while people’s rights are on the line.