Encouraging Teens To Receive HIV Test

Armen Hareyan's picture

Although"[p]ersauding teens to get tested for HIV/AIDS would be much easier if theycould be sure their results would remain private," there currently is"no guarantee" of privacy, a ChicagoSun-Timeseditorial says.

According to the editorial, an Illinois law requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to notify school principals ofstudents' HIV-positive status, and principals are then "free to tell"school nurses, teachers and the local superintendent. However, "well-meaning,yet chatty school officials have demonstrated a marked inability to keepstudents' HIV/AIDS status out of the realm of schoolyard gossip," theeditorial says, adding that any teenager "would be turned off to testingknowing loose lips could lead to being ostracized or harassed byclassmates."

A bill (HB 4314) introduced in the Illinois Legislature by Rep. SaraFeigenholtz (D) would remove the public health department requirement, theeditorial says, adding that if the bill is passed, management of HIV/AIDS"would reside where it belongs: among physicians, children and theirparents." The "urgency" of HIV testing is "often lost onteens who know nothing of the fearful climate around the advent ofHIV/AIDS," the editorial says, concluding, "We cannot protect allteens who will likely grow into infected adults until we guard the privacy ofthe most vulnerable" (Chicago Sun-Times, 1/15).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Reportis published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. KaiserFamily Foundation.