News Journal (Wilmington) (04.05.12) - Monday, April 09, 2012
Delaware's HIV/AIDS rate ranks eighth-highest among the
states, and it is also one of the last states still
noncompliant with a CDC recommendation promoting early
detection. State policy makers, medical providers and advocacy
groups are working to rectify that.
In March, the Delaware Senate unanimously passed a bill
advocating HIV testing as part of routine medical screenings.
Registered nurse Arlene Bincsik, an adviser to the committee
that composed the bill and the HIV program director for
Christiana Care Health System, said the bill is necessary
because "a significant number of people in the US are unaware
of their infection."
Sara Grainger, director of Community Planning and Policy
Development at the Delaware HIV Consortium, said an estimated
21 percent of those HIV-positive are unaware. Furthermore, she
said that 50 percent of new cases are associated with people
who were unaware of their HIV-positive status.
Six years ago, CDC credited routine screenings before
transfusions and the testing of pregnant women for substantial
decreases in transfusion-related and perinatal HIV
transmission. However, CDC said the lack of routine medical
screening for HIV was hampering efforts to thwart sexual
Bincsik noted that health care providers would not be required
to perform HIV prevention counseling, but they would have to
secure patients' consent prior to testing. She added that
patients may opt out of HIV testing, which is covered by
Early detection can improve treatment outcomes for those
infected. In addition, "communities that have a large number
of HIV-positive people in care and on effective treatment" are
realizing fewer infections, said Bincsik.