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Lena Gorska

Translation | Communication, ATD - Le Quart Monde

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Should we support national legislations for mandatory, free of charge and confidential HIV testing of everyone who does blood test?

Considering the tragic magnitude and destructive power of AIDS and the general welfare of the society, as well as people who suffer from AIDS or who are HIV positive, should we support national legislations for mandatory, free of charge and confidential testing of everyone who does blood test?

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  • Jan 16 2013: I have worked on HIV and made computer models that fit the epidemic in Luxembourg. You can see my thesis here: files.figshare.com/97984/Thesis_Final20120824.pdf. I specifically tested several strategies, including yearly testing of the whole population, which appears as the most efficient one, at least in a mature epidemic like in Europe or the US (see figures 3.18 and 3.19).
    The conclusions of my analysis on the whole population of a developed country point to the fact that the people participating most to the dissemination of the virus are the ones who stay undiagnosed and therefore fail to change their sexual behavior, rather than the ones having at-risk behaviors like highly sexually active people, male homosexuals and injecting drug users (note: this was not the case in the early epidemic, where these last two populations fueled the spread of the virus). I would therefore be supportive of such a strategy, but with strong restrictions:
    - the test should not be legally mandatory, but the option to be freely tested should be presented to the patient by the doctor. The doctor should point to the benefits both for the individual and the community of an early diagnosis.
    - everything should be done to ensure the confidentiality of the results. The patient still has the choice to be treated or not.
    My analysis showed that virtually all other strategies are ineffective in the long-term, with the recently FDA-approved preventive antiretroviral having devastating effects on the levels of resistance, even with conservative assumptions.
    I will not provide AIDS denialists with the evidence they could easily get from thousands of peer-reviewed litterature and three decades of research. I understand that such litterature demands some background knowledge in biology and I direct them to a more accessible version here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misconceptions_about_HIV_and_AIDS

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