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MI House panel approves HIV legislation

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network



Patients would no longer have to sign a consent form to take an HIV test under a bill on the state House floor. The measure was approved by the House Health Policy committee last week, but not without some debate.

Supporters of the measure to eliminate the paperwork say it would make the process of HIV testing easier and less disconcerting for people.

Democratic state Representative Barb Byrum says she was tested for HIV as part of a litany of tests that are procedural for pregnant women.

"I found the form a little odd, that I had to sign that form," she says. "I was tested for everything else under the sun, but I had to sign a form for HIV testing, which cause a little but of pause in the doctor's office. It just seemed strange."

But the measure caused some debate over who would really benefit - patients, or hospitals. And those concerned with the bill say it could put the state on a slippery slope of discrimination against people who are HIV-positive and ethnic minorities who are in the fastest-growing population at risk of contracting HIV.

But no one testified against the bill, and it was approved easily by the committee.

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