New York county shelves bill requiring mandatory HIV tests

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 08 2003 1:00 AM ET

The health, education, and youth committee of the Suffolk County, N.Y., legislature tabled a bill Wednesday that would have required anyone arrested for prostitution or for soliciting a prostitute to undergo mandatory HIV and hepatitis C testing while in jail, Newsday reports. Presiding officer Maxine Postal, a Democrat, backed the proposal, saying it was an important step in preventing HIV infections in the county, which covers the eastern end of Long Island. But health officials opposed the measure, saying that there is no evidence that mandatory testing is effective. Civil liberties groups also opposed the bill, saying that testing of prisoners charged but not convicted of a crime would be unconstitutional.

Postal said she may continue to push for the legislation to be brought up for a vote. "In the interest of public health, it's something we should be doing," she said.