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governor signs new HIV testing bill

governor signs new HIV testing bill

Marking National HIV Testing Day, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich signed a new bill that allows expansion of voluntary HIV testing as well as protection of patients' rights to testing with informed consent, according to a press release from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

The law, SB 929, departs from previous HIV testing laws by doubling the amount of financial damages individuals may collect if the state's AIDS Confidentiality Act is violated, including if testing is given without informed consent. The bill also allows patients to give verbal consent for testing, instead of only in writing, the press release states.

Several preexisting provisions were protected, including the requirement of health care providers to deliver critical pretest information to patients as well as the right to refuse testing.

"Preserving patients' medical decision-making rights is fully consistent [with] the goal of helping more people learn from their HIV status," said John Knight, attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, in a press release.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. La Shawn K. Ford and Sen. Carol Ronen, both Democrats, was developed with input from several HIV/AIDS advocates, including the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, ACLU of Illinois, and AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. (The Advocate)

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