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New Mass. law aims to expand HIV testing

April 27, 2012
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BOSTON—Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill that backers hope will increase testing for HIV in Massachusetts.

The new law removes a requirement that patients give written consent for HIV testing, replacing it with verbal consent.

Massachusetts was one of only two states that had mandated written consent, which many physicians believed posed a barrier to testing.

Patrick, who signed the bill on Friday, said it would save lives. Early detection of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can result in life-saving drug treatments and help prevent those with the disease from unknowingly spreading it to others.

The governor says the new law keeps in place a requirement that patients give written consent before the results of HIV screening can be shared with other health care providers.

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