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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

The HIV Testing Debate


Those involved in the HIV-testing debate both politically and personally should see the test as one of several approaches to coping with the epidemic rather than as a goal in and of itself, say Peter Goldblum, co-AUthor of "Strategies for Survival: A Gay Man's Health Manual for the Age of AIDS," and Robert Marks, assistant editor of Focus. To be tested could lead to discrimination or trigger depression and suicidal behavior. Not to be tested could mean negating the possibility of early, preventive treatment, or, for women, depriving oneself of knowledge necessary to decide whether to bear children. Some activists say no one should be tested unless they are guaranteed anonymity and freedom from discrimination. Test results should not be used to determine whether to practice safe sex. Counselors need to know all the options to help clients decide whether or not to be tested. Some have had success with a "Benefit-Risk" analysis that weighs the pros and cons of being tested. Ultimately, the client must decide, but the counselor can help by putting the decision into a larger context of beliefs about medicine, death, the quality of life, religion, spirituality, and politics.


Copyright © 1988 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.

Information in this article was accurate in November 2, 1988. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.