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Public health experts say that there are few better ways to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infection than to make STD and HIV testing more available. Consequently, many groups are calling on state officials to make the procedures easier to access for all demographics.
For example, members of the American Academy for HIV Medicine recently called on Pennsylvania lawmakers to support a bill that would make HIV testing a part of regular healthcare. If passed, the law would remove regulations that force doctors to obtain a separate written consent form and give patients pre-test counseling.
"Early treatment equals prevention," said Mary van den Berg-Wolf, chair of the Academy's Pennsylvania steering committee. "By making testing for HIV disease less cumbersome, we will be able to identify more positive patients earlier, which leads to better health outcomes for the patient and reduces transmission to others."
She added that the majority of people who are infected with the disease either don't know about their condition or find out about it more than one year after they contracted it, which is too late to begin the most effective treatments.
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