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Bill Signed Hopes to Make HIV Testing Easier

Matt Vanderveer

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Bill Signed Hopes to Make HIV Testing Easier

CREATED Oct. 10, 2013

PALM SPRINGS - A bill has been signed that hopes to make HIV testing more accessible. It allows for testing to be done in a non-clinical setting like in a mobile testing van and allows for patient results on-line. Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 446 that aims to target, what sponsors of the bill call, 'hard-to-reach' populations. Those populations include people of color and men who have sex with men.

Some say, streamlining the test is a good thing. "Anytime something is convenient and easy, it's more likely people will get tested. I think it's a great idea,” says tourist Janice Filliponi.

Others add, though it’s a step in the right direction, a more individual setting could make people more comfortable. "Private testing; maybe testing at home might be easier for a lot of people,” says tourist Carol Holt.

Supporters hope to set up mobile testing vans at places like shopping malls and night clubs. "It allows practitioners to deliver results via the internet, so if we were testing with a mobile clinic and weren't able to give someone immediate results, someone could log onto a secure website and get their results that way,” says CEO of the Desert Aids Project David Brinkman.

The goal is to let people know of their status as early as possible so they don't spread it to someone else. "I think it's a good idea. Anything to help people to become more healthy is a good idea,” says Holt.

The Desert Aids Project (DAP) says in Riverside County alone, there are nearly 8,000 people infected with the HIV virus and roughly 1,000 that don't even know they have it. "The DAP brings about 20 to 30 new patients into care every single month,” says Brinkman.

He says streamlining the HIV test gives the virus less of a stigma. "In today's day and age, there's no reason for HIV to have a stigma. Just as if I was going to give you a result that you had high cholesterol or another issue, it should be the same way with HIV testing,” says Brinkman.

Something Holt says she can get behind. "It's important that people really think about what they do and if they feel they're at risk, get tested. It's easy, it's simple, just do it,” says Holt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1.1 million people live with the HIV infection in the United States. Almost 1 in 5 are unaware of their infection.