Friday, 31 March 2023

Senate Health Committee passes HIV screen bill

SACRAMENTO The Senate Health Committee passed a bill late Wednesday by Assemblywoman Patty Berg that would make HIV screening a routine part of medical check-ups.

Under current law, a doctor must have written consent before conducting a HIV test. Assembly Bill 682 would add HIV screening to the routine battery of blood tests taken during a medical check-up, but would allow a patient to decline the test if they wish.

“We must increase HIV testing through medical routine testing,” said Berg, D-Eureka. “Catching HIV in its earliest stage saves lives and slows the epidemic.”

In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for annual medical testing for HIV during annual check ups. Experts say routine screening will help slow the spread of the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

“I am pleased to be working with Assemblywoman Berg and Assemblyman Huffman to remove barriers for patients and give them access to treatment,” said Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, R-Cathedral City. “It is an important issue and I appreciate the bipartisan effort on this critical issue.”

According to the California State Office of AIDS, as many as 40,000 Californians are unaware that they are living with HIV.

“This preventative health care reform will increase the number of people who are tested for HIV leading to a decrease in the number of people who are unknowingly spreading the disease,” said Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael.

The bill also has specific provisions to clarify HIV testing for pregnant women because California law treats pregnant women and HIV testing differently.

The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Visit Berg's Web site at


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