Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

HIV and Jersey Moms

Posted by Ryan on May 12, 2007

According to a bill proposed by the New Jersey Senate President and sometimes Governor, Richard Codey, all pregnant women and newborns would be mandated to be offered an HIV test.  If a mother wishes not to have the HIV test, then she would have to say so in writing.  New York and Connecticut already have laws similar to this, so finishing up the Tri-State triad is Jersey.  If the measure passes the Democrat-controlled legislature, it’ll be the most comprehensive in the region.

I see a privacy issue here, but a public health issue also.  Should the government make us take blood tests for a disease transmitted primarily through our own conscious behavior?  Yet, with at least million HIV infected people in the USA, and no cure in sight, is it just good public health policy to keep an eye on how the disease is spreading in our communities? 

I tend to agree with Codey on this one.  I think it’s good public health policy to gather statistics on this issue.  But, what’s next?  What if they do find a woman or newborn HIV positive?  How will the state intervene at that point?  Should they?  “Oh my!  You have a beautiful baby boy… by the way, you’re both HIV positive and your HMO is only paying for another 24 hours in this hospital.”  Since the bill is likely to pass, this is one point that I hope the NJ legislature addresses.  Like abortion, for example, going through the procedure is not the end of one’s emotional issues.  Being found HIV positive is also something traumatic that has repercussions for the rest of your life.

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