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People who discover they have HIV early through STD tests may be able to benefit from legislation that was reintroduced last week.
The Early Treatment for HIV Act (ETHA) takes advantage of the treatments and medications that have emerged in recent years that assist people who have contracted the virus to live longer and healthier lives.
Currently, HIV patients have to wait till they are stricken with severe symptoms before they are given help for treatments and care. The ETHA will reportedly close that gap and reward patients who received an early lab test to see if they had the disease.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reintroduced the bill with a bipartisan group of 44 original co-sponsors.
"Forcing people with HIV to wait for health care until their immune system is compromised by AIDS is bad health policy," Pelosi said. "Many uninsured, low-income HIV-positive individuals still do not have access to these life-saving medications because they generally do not meet Medicaid requirements until becoming disabled by full-blown AIDS."
The legislation is modeled after the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment and Prevention Act of 2000, which allows states to provide early access to Medicaid for women with breast and cervical cancer.
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