IF THE question is how to improve the lot of people with HIV, eliminating longstanding patients’ rights to make informed decisions about HIV testing and control the disclosure of sensitive medical information is not the answer (“HIV testing: no need for special rules,’’ Sept. 22).
There is no doubt that more should be done to increase HIV testing and treatment; indeed, that’s what the legislation the Globe’s editorial criticizes would do. In response to doctors’ complaints that requiring patients to give written consent is a burden and a barrier to testing, the bill would substitute verbal consent for that piece of paper.
On the other hand, the bill would not, as you imply, impose new requirements for disclosure of HIV-related medical information that would “complicate’’ treatment communication. Patients with HIV already have the right to control the disclosure of that information under existing law, and the system has worked well for a long time.
It is particularly ironic for the Globe to attack patients’ rights to control their own medical information the day after another headline blared, “Data breaches affect 2m in Mass.’’ The need for special rules to protect sensitive medical information has never been greater.
ACLU of Massachusetts