Senate to Vote on Bill Improving Ability to Diagnose HIV Early

Armen Hareyan's picture
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A bill that would allow doctors to test patients for HIV as part of routine medical care heads to the Senate floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed SB 270 today.

SB 270, sponsored by Sen. Phil Griego, would allow private providers to test for HIV during routine medical care without providing pre-test counseling. Eliminating the counseling requirement in the HIV Test Act would encourage doctors to test more patients as part of routine medical care so patients can receive treatment for HIV as soon as possible. Providers would still need to inform patients of testing, and patients could decline to be tested.

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"Our goal is to diagnose people early so they can receive treatment when it's most effective,'' said Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham. "More than half of the people diagnosed in New Mexico already have developed AIDS by time they are diagnosed. We are clearly missing a lot of people who could benefit from treatment."

Of the 2,139 people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in New Mexico since 1981, 58 percent had AIDS at the time of their diagnosis, according to Department of Health statistics. The department began tracking AIDS diagnoses in 1981 and HIV in 1998.

Of the people diagnosed with HIV or AIDS in New Mexico, 40 percent are between the ages of 30 to 39, 23 percent between ages 20 to 29 and 25 percent between ages 40 to 49.

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