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In an effort to reduce the rates of infection in the state of New York, Governor David Paterson signed into law a bill that seeks to increase the availability of HIV testing for state residents.
The new law makes HIV testing a part of routine healthcare. Now doctors will carry out the procedure unless patients specifically ask not to be tested.
Health advocates in the state have applauded the measure. The New York AIDS Coalition said that offering testing to every individual who seeks care would help health officials identify those who are unaware that they are living with the disease, and that this would help stop its spread.
"This new law will make HIV testing a routine part of every day healthcare for every New Yorker," said Brittany Allen, the coalition's director. "In turn, it will significantly decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, while increasing the number of people tested each year."
She added that, by knowing who is infected with HIV at early stages of the disease, health officials will be able to provide these people with better care.
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