Activists worry over expanded AIDS testing

United Press International | 7/5/2006

LOS ANGELES, July 5 (UPI) -- Concerns are mounting in the United States over federal guidelines that would propose routine HIV tests for people 13 to 64 years old. 

The guidelines would urge doctors to offer the test to everyone with basic health care, regardless of risk factor. 

The Centers for Disease Control says broader testing is needed because about 25 percent of the estimated 1 million Americans with HIV are unaware they are carrying it, The Los Angeles Times reported. 

Civil liberties activists and a range of politicians are worried that the HIV tests would impinge on individual rights and attach a damaging stigma to thousands of patients, while failing to ensure that they will receive treatment, the newspaper said. 

Opponents worry that busy clinics and harried doctors could take shortcuts, or fail to explain the virus, misleading or coercing vulnerable patients.