On HIV Testing Day, CHLP Highlights the Importance of Bodily Autonomy, Informed Consent, and Health Privacy

Cover of MHS Guide

For National #HIVTestingDay, the theme is "Take the Test and Take the Next Step" to encourage people to get tested for HIV, find out their status, and take the next step to get linked to care and treatment.

The only problem is that after you are tested, your data takes yet another step…and many times without your consent. So while we can encourage testing for HIV, in this age of molecular HIV surveillance, we should also keep in mind that public health should protect communities.

1. People should be encouraged to get tested and engage in care, and the medical establishment has a responsibility to make them feel comfortable doing so.

2. Informed consent, a person’s ability to make educated decisions regarding their medical care, is a human right. There should be NO use of people’s medical information without their informed consent.

3. Policing and criminalization have no place in public health. There should be consistent safeguards required for the protection against the misuse of this data against people living with HIV, including but not limited to an absolute firewall from law enforcement.

For more info on molecular HIV surveillance, read this Guide for Advocates from CHLP, PWN-USA and US PLHIV Caucus.
To highlight the themes of bodily autonomy, health privacy, and the Denver Principles, CHLP Policy & Advocacy Manager Amir Sadeghi wrote this #HIVTestingDay reflection for TheBodyPro. He urges more level setting with medical allies, with public health officials, about the legacy and reality of criminalization, mass incarceration, and the roots of state violence targeting our communities. And that even simply considering molecular HIV surveillance in the real context of HIV criminal legal enforcement represents a dangerous subversion of public health, something that should be about protecting communities. 
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