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Group Says Indiana’s HIV Law Creates Dilemma

An Indiana law allows people to be tested for HIV without their knowledge.

The CDC estimates that 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection. An Indiana University research class from the Department of Social Work gave a presentation at the Monroe County library on Indiana Senate Bill 52 which passed this session.

The bill gives providers the right to test someone with HIV without their consent if they suspect they have HIV.

“I think all of us felt a little conflicted about how we felt about this bill, because as social workers something that we really work towards is dignity and worth of a person,” says Annie Seltzer, a junior social worker. “It’s hard because sort of goes against someone’s privacy and someone saying no they don’t want the test. However, from a global health stand point this was really important.”

The students said to help stop the spread of the disease people need to be tested to know if they are infected. The CDC estimates 1 in 5 individuals are unaware they are positive. Students were required to look at the impact of the bill on populations and come up with solutions.

“It was interesting to see the students struggle with the idea that this testing can be done without consent for some populations and they talked about that a lot in class of whether that fit social work values,” says Bruce McCallister, a lecturer at the IU School of Social Work.

Governor Daniels signed the bill in mid-March.

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